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PRESERVATION 
REPLACEMENT 
REVIEW j£[i4g-; 



THE NOVELS OF 
IVAN TURGENEV 

VOLUME XI 



TV, (oCU^y^J>J^ 



^b/^ 




THE NOVELS OF 
IVAN TURGENE V 

i. Rtidin. 

ii. A House of Gentlefolk. 

iii. On the Eve. 

iv. Fathers and Children, 

V. Smoke. 

vi. & vii. Virgin Soil. 2 Vols. 

viii. & ix. A Sportsman^ s Sketches. 2 Vols. 

X. Dream Tales and Prose Poons. 

xi. The Torrents of Spring. 

NEW YORK 
MAC MI LEAN AND CO. 



A/3/ 
THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 



• Years of gladness, 
Days of joy, 
Like the torrents of spring 
They hurried away.' 

— From an Old Ballad. 

. . . At two o'clock in the night he had gone 
back to his study. He had dismissed the 
servant after the candles were lighted, and 
throwing himself into a low chair by the 
hearth, he hid his face in both hands. 

Never had he felt such weariness of body 
and of spirit. He had passed the whole even- 
ing in the company of charming ladies and 
cultivated men ; some of the ladies were beauti- 
ful, almost all the men were distinguished by 
intellect or talent ; he himself had talked with 
great success, even with brilliance . . . and, for 
all that, never yet had the taedhcm vitae of which 
the Romans talked of old, the ' disgust for life,' 
taken hold^ of him,^\vith such irresistible, such 
suffocating force. Had he been a little younger. 



c^-i(i8G 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

he would have cried with misery, weariness, and 
exasperation : a biting, burning bitterness, like 
the bitter of wormwood, filled his whole soul. 
A sort of clinging repugnance, a weight of 
loathing closed in upon him on all sides like a 
dark night of autumn ; and he did not know 
how to get free from this darkness, this bitter- 
ness. Sleep it was useless to reckon upon ; he 
knew he should not sleep. 

He fell to thinking . . . slowly, listlessly, 
wrathfully. He thought of the vanity, the use- 
lessness, the vulgar falsity of all things human. 
All the stages of man's life passed in order 
before his mental gaze (he had himself lately 
reached his fifty-second year), and not one found 
grace in his eyes. Everywhere the same ever- 
lasting pouring of water into a sieve, the ever- 
lasting beating of the air, everywhere the same 
self-deception — half in good faith, half conscious 
— any toy to amuse the child, so long as it keeps 
him from crying. And then, all of a sudden, 
old age drops down like snow on the head, and 
with it the ever-growing, ever-gnawing, and 
devouring dread of death . . . and the plunge 
into the abyss ! Lucky indeed if life works 
out so to the end ! May be, before the end, 
like rust on iron, sufferings, infirmities come. . . . 
He di4-~Jiiit.piQtUie^-liie's- sea, as the poets 
r^ depict it, covered with tempestuous waves ; no, 

2 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

he thought of that sea as a smooth, untroubled 
surface^- stagnant and transparent to its darkest 
depths. He himself sits in a little tottering 
boat, and down below in those dark oozy 
depths, like prodigious fishes, he can just make 
out the shapes of hideous monsters : all the ills 
of life, diseases, sorrows, madness, poverty, 
blindness. . . . He gazes, and behold, one of 
these monsters separates itself off from the 
darkness, rises higher and higher, stands out 
more and more distinct, more and more loath- 
somely distinct. . . . An instant yet, and the 
boat that bears him will be overturned ! But 
behold, it grows dim again, it withdraws, sinks 
down to the bottom, and there it lies, faintly 
stirring in the slime. . . . But the fated day 
will come, and it will overturn the boat. 

He shook his head, jumped up from his low 
chair, took two turns up and down the room, 
sat down to the writing-table, and opening one 
drawer after another, began to rummage among 
his papers, among old letters, mostly from 
women. He could not have said why he was 
doing it ; he was not looking for anything — he 
simply wanted by some kind of external occupa- 
tion to get away from the thoughts oppressing 
him. Opening several letters at random (in 
one of them there was a withered flower tied 
with a bit of faded ribbon), he merely shrugged 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

his shoulders, and glancing at the hearth, he 
tossed them on one side, probably with the 
idea of burning all this useless rubbish. 
Hurriedly, thrusting his hands first into one, 
and then into another drawer, he suddenly 
opened his eyes wide, and slowly bringing out 
a little octagonal box of old-fashioned make, 
he slowly raised its lid. In the box, under two 
layers of cotton wool, yellow with age, was a 
little garnet cross. 

For a few instants he looked in perplexity 
at this cross — suddenly he gave a faint cry. 
. . . Something between regret and delight was 
expressed in his features. Such an expression 
a man's face wears when he suddenly meets 
some one whom he has long lost sight of, whom 
he has at one time tenderly loved, and who 
suddenly springs up before his eyes, still the 
same, and utterly transformed by the years. 

He got up, and going back to the hearth, he 
sat down again in the arm-chair, and again hid 
his face in his hands. . . . ' Why to-day ? just 
to-day ? ' was his thought, and he remembered 
many things, long since past. 

This is what he remembered. . . . 

But first I must mention his name, his 
father's name and his surname. He was 
called Dimitri Pavlovitch Sanin. 

Here follows what he remembered. 
4 




I 

It was the summer of 1840. Sanin was in his 
twenty-second year, and he was in Frankfort 
on his way home from Italy to Russia. He 
was a man of small property, but independent, 
almost without family ties. By the death of a 
distant relative, he had come into a few thousand 
roubles, and he had decided to spend this sum 
abroad before entering the service, before finally 
putting on the government yoke, without which 
he could not obtain a secure livelihood. Sanin 
had carried out this intention, and had fitted 
things in to such a nicety that on the day of 
his arrival in Frankfort he had only just 
enough money left to take him back to Peters- 
burg. In the year 1840 there were few railroads 
in existence ; tourists travelled by diligence. 
Sanin had taken a place in the ' bci-ivago7i ' ; 
but the diligence did not start till eleven 
o'clock in the evening. There was a great deal 
of time to be got through before then. For- 
tunately it was lovely weather, and Sanin after 
5 



/ 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

dining at a hotel, famous in those days, the 
White Swan, set off to stroll about the town. 
He w.ent in to look at Danneker's Ariadne, 
which he did not much care for, visited the 
house of Goethe, of whose works he had, how- 
ever, only read Werter^ and that in the French 
translation. He walked along the bank of the 
Maine, and was bored as a well-conducted 
tourist should be ; at last at six o'clock in the 
evening, tired, and with dusty boots, he found 
himself in one of the least remarkable streets 
in Frankfort. That street he was fated not 
to forget long, long after. On one of its 
few houses he saw a signboard : * Giovanni 
Roselli, Italian confectionery,' was announced 
upon it. Sanin went into it to get a glass 
of lemonade ; but in the shop, where, be- 
hind the modest counter, on the shelves of a 
stained cupboard, recalling a chemist's shop, 
stood a few bottles with gold labels, and as 
many glass jars of biscuits, chocolate cakes, and 
sweetmeats — in this room, there was not a soul ; 
only a grey cat blinked and purred, sharpening 
its claws on a tall wicker chair near the window 
and a bright patch of colour was made in the 
evening sunlight, by a big ball of red wool 
lying on the floor beside a carved wooden 
basket turned upside down. A confused noise 
was audible in the next room. Sanin stood a 
6 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

moment, and making the bell on the door ring 
its loudest, he called, raising his voice, * Is there 
no one here ? ' At that instant the door from an 
inner room was thrown open, and Sanin was 
struck dumb with amazement. 



II 

A YOUNG girl of nineteen ran impetuously 
into the shop, her dark curls hanging in dis- 
order on her bare shoulders, her bare arms 
stretched out in front of her. Seeing Sanin, 
she rushed up to him at once, seized him by the 
hand, and pulled him after her, saying in a 
breathless voice, ' Quick, quick, here, save him ! ' 
Not through disinclination to obey, but simply 
from excess of amazement, Sanin did not at 
once follow the girl. He stood, as it were, 
rooted to the spot ; he had never in his life 
seen such a beautiful creature. She turned 
towards him, and with such despair in her 
voice, in her eyes, in the gesture of her clenched 
hand, which was lifted with a spasmodic 
movement to her pale check, she articulated, 
* Come, come ! ' that he at once darted after her 
to the open door. 

In the room, into which he ran behind the 
7 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

girl, on an old-fashioned horse-hair sofa, lay a 
boy of fourteen, white all over — white, with a 
yellowish tinge like wax or old marble — he was 
strikingly like the girl, obviously her brother. 
His eyes were closed, a patch of shadow fell 
from his thick black hair on a forehead like 
stone, and delicate, motionless eyebrows ; be- 
tween the blue lips could be seen clenched 
teeth. He seemed not to be breathing ; one 
arm hung down to the floor, the other he had 
tossed above his head. The boy was dressed, 
and his clothes were closely buttoned ; a tight 
cravat was twisted round his neck. 

The girl rushed up to him with a wail of 
distress. ' He is dead, he is dead ! ' she cried ; 
* he was sitting here just now, talking to me — 
and all of a sudden he fell down and became 
rigid. . . . My God ! can nothing be done to 
help him } And mamma not here ! Pantaleone, 
Pantaleone, the doctor ! ' she went on suddenly 
in Italian. ' Have you been for the doctor?' 

* Signora, I did not go, I sent Luise,' said a 
hoarse voice at the door, and a little bandy- 
legged old man came hobbling into the room 
in a lavender frock coat with black buttons, a 
high white cravat, short nankeen trousers, and 
blue worsted stockings. His diminutive little 
face was positively lost in a mass of iron-grey 
hair. Standing up in all directions, and falling 
8 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

back in ragged tufts, it gave the old man's 
figure a resemblance to a crested hen — a resem- 
blance the more striking, that under the dark- 
grey mass nothing could be distinguished but 
a beak nose and round yellow eyes. 

' Luise will run fast, and I can't run,' the old 
man went on in Italian, dragging his flat gouty 
feet, shod in high slippers with knots of ribbon. 
* I 've brought some water.' 

In his withered, knotted fingers, he clutched 
a long bottle neck. 

* But meanwhile Emil will die ! ' cried the 
girl, and holding out her hand to Sanin, ' O, 
sir, O vtein Herr\ can't you do something 
for him ? ' 

' He ought to be bled — it 's an apoplectic fit,' 
observed the old man addressed as Pantalcone. 

Though Sanin had not the slightest notion 
of medicine, he knew one thing for certain, that 
boys of fourteen do not have apoplectic fits. 

' It's a swoon, not a fit,' he said, turning to 
Pantaleone. ' Have you got any brushes ? ' 

The old man raised his little face. ' Eh ? ' 

* Brushes, brushes,' repeated Sanin in German 
and in French. ' Brushes,' he added, making 
as though he would brush his clothes. 

The little old man understood him at last. 
' Ah, brushes ! Spazzette ! to be sure we 
have ! ' 

9 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* Bring them here ; we will take off his coat 
and try rubbing him.* 

*Good . . . Benonel And ought we not to 
sprinkle water on his head ? ' 

* No . . . later on ; get the brushes now as 
quick as you can.' 

Pantaleone put the bottle on the floor, ran 
out and returned at once with two brushes, 
one a hair-brush, and one a clothes-brush. A 
curly poodle followed him in, and vigorously 
wagging its tail, it looked up inquisitively at the 
old man, the girl, and even Sanin, as though 
it wanted to know what was the meaning of 
all this fuss. 

Sanin quickly took the boy's coat off, un- 
buttoned his collar, and pushed up his shirt- 
sleeves, and arming himself with a brush, he 
began brushing his chest and arms with all 
his might. Pantaleone as zealously brushed 
away with the other — the hair-brush — at his 
boots and trousers. The girl flung herself on 
her knees by the sofa, and, clutching her head 
in both hands, fastened her eyes, not an eye- 
lash quivering, on her brother. 

Sanin rubbed on, and kept stealing glances 
at her. Mercy ! what a beautiful creature 
she was ! 



lO 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 



III 



Her nose was rather large, but handsome, 
aquiline-shaped ; her upper lip was shaded by 
a light down ; but then the colour of her face, 
smooth, uniform, like ivory or very pale milky 
amber, the wavering shimmer of her hair, like 
that of the Judith of Allorio in the Palazzo- 
Pitti ; and above all, her eyes, dark-grey, with 
a black ring round the pupils, splendid, trium- 
phant eyes, even now, when terror and distress 
dimmed their lustre. . . . Sanin could not help 
recalling the marvellous country he had just 
come from. . . . But even in Italy he had never 
met anything like her ! The girl drew slow, 
uneven breaths ; she seemed between each 
breath to be waiting to see whether her brother 
would not begin to breathe. 

Sanin went on rubbing him, but he did not 
only watch the girl. The original figure of 
Pantaleone drew his attention too. The 
old man was quite exhausted and panting ; at 
every movement of the brush he hopped up 
and down and groaned noisily, while his 
immense tufts of hair, soaked with perspira- 
tion, flapped heavily from side to side, like the 
roots of some strong plant, torn up by the water. 
II 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

'You'd better, at least, take off his boots/ 
Sanin was just saying to him. 

The poodle, probably excited by the unusual- 
ness of all the proceedings, suddenly sank on 
to its front paws and began barking. 

'Tartaglia—canaglia!' the old man hissed at 
it. But at that instant the girl's face was trans- 
formed. Her eyebrows rose, her eyes grew 
wider, and shone with joy. 

Sanin looked round ... A flush had over- 
spread the lad's face ; his eyelids stirred . . . 
his nostrils twitched. He drew in a breath 
through his still clenched teeth, sighed. . . . 

* Emil ! ' cried the girl ... * Emilio mio ! ' 

Slowly the big black eyes opened. They 
still had a dazed look, but already smiled 
faintly ; the same faint smile hovered on his 
pale lips. Then he moved the arm that hung 
down, and laid it on his chest. 

'Emilio!' repeated the girl, and she got up. 
The expression on her face was so tense and 
vivid, that it seemed that in an instant either 
she would burst into tears or break into 
laughter. 

' Emil ! what is it ? Emil ! ' was heard out- 
side, and a neatly-dressed lady with silvery 
grey hair and a dark face came with rapid 
steps into the room. 

A middle-aged man followed her ; the head 

12 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

of a maid-servant was visible over their 
shoulders. 

The girl ran to meet them. 

* He is saved, mother, he is alive ! ' she cried, 
impulsively embracing the lady who had just 
entered. 

* But what is it ? ' she repeated. ' I come 
back . . . and all of a sudden I meet the 
doctor and Luise . . .' 

The girl proceeded to explain what had 
happened, while the doctor went up to the 
invalid who was coming more and more to 
himself, and was still smiling : he seemed to 
be beginning to feel shy at the commotion 
he had caused. 

' You 've been using friction with brushes, 
I see,' said the doctor to Sanin and Pantaleone, 
'and you did very well. ... A very good 
idea . . . and now let us see what further 
measures . . .' 

He felt the youth's pulse. ' H'm ! show me 
your tongue ! ' 

The lady bent anxiously over him. He 
smiled still more ingenuously, raised his eyes 
to her, and blushed a little. 

It struck Sanin that he was no longer wanted ; 
he went into the shop. But before he had time 
to touch the handle of the street-door, the girl 
was once more before him ; she stopped him. 
13 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* You are going,' she began, looking warmly 
into his face ; ' I will not keep you, but you 
must be sure to come to see us this evening : 
we are so indebted to you — you, perhaps, saved 
my brother's life, we want to thank you — 
mother wants to. You must tell us who you 
are, you must rejoice with us . . .' 

* But I am leaving for Berlin to-day,' Sanin 
faltered out. 

*You will have time though,' the girl re- 
joined eagerly. ' Come to us in an hour's time 
to drink a cup of chocolate with us. You pro- 
mise ? I must go back to him ! You will 
come ? ' 

What could Sanin do ? 

* I will come,' he replied. 

The beautiful girl pressed his hand, fluttered 
away, and he found himself in the street. 



IV 



When Sanin, an hour and a half later, re- 
turned to the Roscllis' shop he was received 
there like one of the family. Emilio was 
sitting on the same sofa, on which he had 
been rubbed ; the doctor had prescribed him 
medicine and recommended * great discretion 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

in avoiding strong emotions' as being a subject 
of nervous temperament with a tendency to 
weakness of the heart. He had previously 
been liable to fainting-fits ; but never had he 
lost consciousness so completely and for so 
long. However, the doctor declared that all 
danger was over. Emil, as was only suitable 
for an invalid, was dressed in a comfortable 
dressing-gown; his mother wound a blue ^ 
woollen wrap round his neck ; but he had a 
cheerful, almost a festive air ; indeed every- 
thing had a festive air. Before the sofa, on 
a round table, covered with a clean cloth, 
towered a huge china coffee-pot, filled with 
fragrant chocolate, and encircled by cups, de- 
canters of liqueur, bisciits and rolls, and even 
flowers ; six slender wax candles were burning 
•^in two old-fashioned silver chandeliers ; on one 
•;^ide of the sofa, a comfortable lounge-chair 
-.'offered its soft embraces, and in this chair they 
made Sanin sit. All the inhabitants of the 
confectioner's shop, with whom he had made 
acquaintance that day, were present, not ex- 
cluding the poodle, Tartaglia, and the cat ; 
they all seemed happy beyond expression ; 
the poodle positively sneezed with delight, 
only the cat was coy and blinked sleepily as 
before. They made Sanin tell them who he 
was, where he came from, and what was his 
15 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

name ; when he said he was a Russian, both 
the ladies were a little surprised, uttered ejacu- 
lations of wonder, and declared with one voice 
that he spoke German splendidly ; but if he 
preferred to speak French, he might make 
use of that language, as they both understood 
it and spoke it well. Sanin at once availed 
himself of this suggestion. ' Sanin ! Sanin ! ' 
The ladies would never have expected that 
a Russian surname could be so easy to pro- 
nounce. His Christian name — ' Dimitri ' — they 
liked very much too. The elder lady observed 
that in her youth she had heard a fine opera — 
* Demetrio e Polibio ' — but that ' Dimitri ' was 
much nicer than ' Demetrio.' In this way Sanin 
talked for about an hour. The ladies on their 
side initiated him into all the details of their 
own life. The talking was mostly done by the 
mother, the lady with grey hair. Sanin learnt 
from her that her name was Leonora Roselli ; 
that she had lost her husband, Giovanni Bat- 
tista Roselli, who had settled in Frankfort as 
a confectioner twenty -five years ago ; that 
Giovanni Battista had come from Vicenza and 
had been a most excellent, though fiery and 
irascible man, and a republican withal ! At 
those words Signora Roselli pointed to his 
portrait, painted in oil-colours, and hanging 
over the sofa. It must be presumed that the 
i6 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

painter, * also a republican ! ' as Signora Roselli 
observed with a sigh, had not fully succeeded 
in catching a likeness, for in his portrait the 
late Giovanni Battista appeared as a morose 
and gloomy brigand, after the style of Rinaldo 
Rinaldini ! Signora Roselli herself had come 
from ' the ancient and splendid city of Parma 
where there is the wonderful cupola, painted 
by the immortal Correggio ! ' But from her long 
residence in Germany she had become almost 
completely Germanised. Then she added, 
mournfully shaking her head, that all she had 
left was tJiis daughter and tJiis son (pointing to 
each in turn with her finger) ; that the daughter's 
name was Gemmaj^^pd the son's Enailio ; that 
they were both very good and obedient children 
— especially Emilio • . • C ^^^ "ot obedient ! ' 
her daughter put in at that point. ' Oh, 
you 're a republican, too ! ' answered her 
mother). That the business, of course, was 
not what it had been in the days of her 
husband, who had a great gift for the con- 
fectionery line . . . Q U?i grand uo7no I ' Panta- 
leone confirmed with a severe air) ; but that 
still, thank God, they managed to get along ! 



17 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 



Gemma listened to her mother, and at one 
minute laughed, then sighed, then patted her 
on the shoulder, and shook her finger at her, 
and then looked at Sanin ; at last, she got up, 
embraced her mother and kissed her in the 
hollow of her neck, which made the latter 
laugh extremely and shriek a little. Pantaleone 
too was presented to Sanin. It appeared he 
had once been an opera singer, a baritone, but 
had long ago given up the theatre, and occupied 
in the Roselli family a position between that 
of a family friend and a servant. In spite of 
his prolonged residence in Germany, he had 
learnt very little German, and only knew how 
to swear in it, mercilessly distorting even the 
terms of abuse. ' Ferroflucto spitcJiebubbio ' was 
his favourite epithet for almost every German. 
He spoke Italian with a perfect accent — for 
was he not by birth from Sinigali, where may 
be heard ' lingiia toscana in bocca romana ' ! 
Emilio, obviously, played the invalid and 
indulged himself in the pleasant sensations of 
one who has only just escaped a danger or is 
returning to health after illness ; it was evident, 
too, that the family spoiled him. He thanked 
Sanin bashfully, but devoted himself chiefly 
i8 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

to the biscuits and sweetmeats. Sanin was 
compelled to drink two large cups of excellent 
chocolate, and to eat a considerable number of 
biscuits ; no sooner had he swallowed one than 
Gemma offered him another — and to refuse was 
impossible ! He soon felt at home : the time 
flew by with incredible swiftness. He had to 
tell them a great deal — about Russia in general, 
the Russian climate, Russian society, the Rus- 
sian peasant — and especially about the Cos- 
sacks ; about the war of 1812, about Peter the 
Great, about the Kremlin, and the Russian 
songs and bells. Both ladies had a very faint 
conception of our vast and remote fatherland ; 
Signora Roselli, or as she was more often 
called, Frau Lenore, positively dumfoundered 
Sanin with the question, whether there was 
still existing at Petersburg the celebrated house 
of ice, built last century, about which she had 
lately read a very curious article in one of her 
husband's books, 'Bellezze delle arti.' And in 
reply to Sanin's exclamation, * Do you really 
suppose that there is never any summer in 
Russia?' Frau Lenore replied that till then she 
had always pictured Russia like this — eternal 
snow, every one going about in furs, and all 
military men, but the greatest hospitality, and 
all the peasants very submissive ! Sanin tried 
to impart to her and her daughter some more 
19 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

exact information. When the conversation 
touched on Russian music, they begged him at 
once to sing some Russian air and showed him 
a diminutive piano with black keys instead of 
white and white instead of black. He obeyed 
without making much ado and accompanying 
himself with two fingers of the right hand and 
three of the left (the first, second, and little 
finger) he sang in a thin nasal tenor, first ' The 
Sarafan,' then * Along a Paved Street.' The 
ladies praised his voice and the music, but were 
more struck with the softness and sonorousness 
of the Russian language and asked for a trans- 
lation of the text. Sanin complied with their 
wishes — but as the words of ' The Sarafan,' 
and still more of * Along a Paved Street ' {sur 
une rue pavee U7te jeune fille allait a Feau was 
how he rendered the sense of the original) were 
not calculated to inspire his listeners with an 
exalted idea of Russian poetry, he first recited, 
then translated, and then sang Pushkin's, ' I 
remember a marvellous moment,' set to music 
by Glinka, whose minor bars he did not render 
quite faithfully. Then the ladies went into 
ecstasies. Frau Lenore positively discovered in 
Russian a wonderful likeness to the Italian. 
Even the names Pushkin (she pronounced it 
Pussekin) and Glinka sounded- somewhat 
familiar to her. Sanin on his side begged the 
20 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

ladies to sing something ; they too did not 
wait to be pressed. Frau Lenore sat down to 
the piano and sang with Gemma some duets 
and 'stornellc' The mother had once had a 
fine contralto ; the daughter's voice was not 
strong, but was pleasing. 



VI 



But it was not Gemma's voice — it was herself 
Sanin was admiring. He was sitting a little 
behind and on one side of her, and kept 
thinking to himself that no palm-tree, even in 
the poems of Benediktov — the poet in fashion in 
those days — could rival the slender grace of her 
figure. When, at the most emotional passages, 
she raised her eyes upwards — it seemed to him 
no heaven could fail to open at such a look ! 
Even the old man, Pantaleone, who with his 
shoulder propped against the doorpost, and his 
chin and mouth tucked into his capacious 
cravat, was listening solemnly with the air of a 
connoisseur — even he was admiring the girl's 
lovely face and marvelling at it, though one 
would have thought he must have been used to 
it ! When she had finished the duet with her 
daughter, Frau Lenore observed that Emilio 

21 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

had a fine voice, like a silver bell, but that 
now he was at the age when the voice changes 
— he did, in fact, talk in a sort of bass con- 
stantly falling into falsetto — and that he was 
therefore forbidden to sing ; but that Pantaleone 
now really might try his skill of old days in 
honour of their guest ! Pantaleone promptly 
put on a displeased air, frowned, ruffled up his 
hair, and declared that he had given it all up 
long ago, though he could certainly in his 
youth hold his own, and indeed had belonged 
to that great period, when there were real 
classical singers, not to be compared to the 
squeaking performers of to-day ! and a real 
school of singing ;that he, Pantaleone Cippatola 
of Varese, had once been brought a laurel 
wreath from Modena, and that on that occa- 
sion some white doves had positively been let 
fly in the theatre ; that among others a Russian 
prince Tarbusky — * il principc Tarbusski' — 
with whom he had been on the most friendly 
terms, had after supper persistently invited him 
to Russia, promising him mountains of gold, 
mountains ! . . . but that he had been unwilling 
to leave Italy, the land of Dante — il pacsc del 
Dante I Afterward, to be sure, there came . . . 
unfortunate circumstances, he had himself been 
imprudent. ... At this point the old man broke 
off, sighed deeply twice, looked dejected, and 

22 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

began again talking of the classical period of 
singing, of the celebrated tenor Garcia, for 
whom he cherished a devout, unbounded venera- 
tion. ' He was a man ! ' he exclaimed. ' Never 
had the great Garcia (il gran Garcia) de- 
meaned himself by singing falsetto like the 
paltry tenors of to-day — tenoracci\ always 
from the chest, from the chest, voce di pettOy 
si!^ and the old man aimed a vigorous blow 
with his little shrivelled fist at his own shirt- 
front ! ' And what an actor ! A volcano, 
signori iniei^ a volcano, un Vesuvzo ! I had 
the honour and the happiness of singing with 
him in the opera delV illustrissimo maestro 
Rossini — in Otello ! Garcia was Otello, — I was 
I ago — and when he rendered the phrase ' : — 
here Pantaleone threw himself into an atti- 
tude and began singing in a hoarse and shaky, 
but still moving voice : 

" L 'i . . . ra daver ... so daver . . . so il fate 
lo piu no ... no ... no .. . non temero I " 

The theatre was all a-quiver, sigjiori mici\ 
though I too did not fall short, I too after him. 

" L 'i ra daver ... so daver . . . so il fato 
Temer piu non davro ! " 

And all of a sudden, he crashed like lightning, 

like a tiger : Morro ! . . . via veiidicato . . . 

23 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Again when he was singing . . . when he was 
singing that celebrated air from " Matrmionio 
segrefo" Pria che spunti . . . then he, // gran 
Garcia^ after the words, "I cavalli di galoppo'' — 
at the words, " Senza posa cacciera" — h'sten, how 
stupendous, come e stupendo I At that point 
he made . . .' The old man began a sort of 
extraordinary flourish, and at the tenth note 
broke down, cleared his throat, and with a wave 
of his arm turned away, muttering, 'Why do 
you torment me ? ' Gemma jumped up at 
once and clapping loudly and shouting, bravo ! 
. . . bravo ! . . . she ran to the poor old super- 
annuated lago and with both hands patted him 
affectionately on the shoulders. Only Emil 
laughed ruthlessly. Get age est sans pitie — 
that age knows no mercy — Lafontaine has said 
already. 

Sanin tried to soothe the aged singer and 
began talking to him in Italian — (he had 
picked up a smattering during his last tour 
there) — began talking of ^ paesc del Dajite^ 
dove il si stiona.' This phrase, together with 
* Lasciate ogni speranza^ made up the whole 
stock of poetic Italian of the young tourist ; 
but Pantaleone was not won over by his 
blandishments. Tucking his chin deeper than 
ever into his cravat and sullenly rolling his 
eyes, he was once more like a bird, an angry 
24 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

one too, — a crow or a kite. Then Emil, with a 
faint momentary blush, such as one so often 
sees in spoilt children, addressing his sister, 
said if she wanted to entertain their guest, she 
could do nothing better than read him one of 
those little comedies of Malz, that she read so 
nicely. Gemma laughed, slapped her brother 
on the arm, exclaimed that he 'always had 
such ideas ! ' She went promptly, however, to 
her room, and returning thence with a small 
book in her hand, seated herself at the table 
before the lamp, looked round, lifted one finger 
as much as to say, * hush ! ' — a typically Italian 
gesture — and began reading. 



VII 



Malz was a writer flourishing at Frankfort 
about 1830, whose short comedies, written in a 
light vein in the local dialect, hit off local 
Frankfort types with bright and amusing, 
though not deep, humour. It turned out that 
Gemma really did read excellently — quite like 
an actress in fact. She indicated each person- 
age, and sustained the character capitally, 
making full use of the talent of mimicry she 
had inherited with her Italian blood ; she had 
25 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

no mercy on her soft voice or her lovely face, 
and when she had to represent some old crone 
in her dotage, or a stupid burgomaster, she 
made the drollest grimaces, screwing up her 
eyes, wrinkling up her nose, lisping, squeaking. 
. . . She did not herself laugh during the read- 
ing ; but when her audience (with the excep- 
tion of Pantaleone : he had walked off in 
indignation so soon as the conversation turned 
quel ferroflucto Tedesco) interrupted her by 
an outburst of unanimous laughter, she dropped 
the book on her knee, and laughed musically 
too, her head thrown back, and her black hair 
dancing in little ringlets on her neck and her 
shaking shoulders. When the laughter ceased, 
she picked up the book at once, and again 
resuming a suitable expression, began the read- 
ing seriously. Sanin could not get over his 
admiration ; he was particularly astonished at 
the marvellous way in which a face so ideally 
beautiful assumed suddenly a comic, sometimes 
almost a vulgar expression. Gemma was less 
successful in the parts of young girls — of so- 
called '■ jeunes premieres ' ; in the love-scenes 
in particular she failed ; she was conscious of 
this herself, and for that reason gave them a 
faint shade of irony as though she did not 
quite believe in all these rapturous vows and 
elevated sentiments, of which the author, how- 
26 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

ever, was himself rather sparing — so far as he 
could be. 

Sanin did not notice how the evening was 
flying by, and only recollected the journey 
before him when the clock struck ten. He 
leaped up from his seat as though he had been 
stung. 

*What is the matter?' inquired Frau Lenore. 

* Why, I had to start for Berlin to-night, and 
I have taken a place in the diligence ! ' 

* And when does the diligence start ? ' 

* At half-past ten ! ' 

* Well, then, you won't catch it now,' observed 
Gemma ; ' you must stay . . . and I will go 
on reading.' 

' Have you paid the whole fare or only given 
a deposit ? ' Frau Lenore queried. 

* The whole fare ! ' Sanin said dolefully with 
a gloomy face. 

Gemma looked at him, half closed her eyes, 
and laughed, while her mother scolded her : 
' The young gentleman has paid away his 
money for nothing, and you laugh ! ' 

* Never mind,' answered Gemma ; ' it won't 
ruin him, and we will try and amuse him. 
Will you have some lemonade?' 

Sanin drank a glass of lemonade. Gemma 
took up Malz once more ; and all went merrily 
again. 

27 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

The clock struck twelve. Sanin rose to take 
leave. 

* You must stay some days now in Frank- 
fort/ said Gemma : ' why should you hurry 
away ? It would be no nicer in any other town.' 
She paused. ' It wouldn't, really,' she added 
with a smile. Sanin made no reply, and re- 
flected that considering the emptiness of his 
purse, he would have no choice about remaining 
in Frankfort till he got an answer from a 
friend in Berlin, to whom he proposed writing 
for money. 

* Yes, do stay,' urged Frau Lenore too. ' We 
will introduce you to Mr. Karl Kliiber, who is 
engaged to Gemma. He could not come to- 
day, as he was very busy at his shop . . . you 
must have seen the biggest draper's and silk 
mercer's shop in the Zeile. Well, he is the 
manager there. But he will be delighted to 
call on you himself 

Sanin — heaven knows why — was slightly dis- 
concerted by this piece of information. ' He 's 
a lucky fellow, that fiance: ! ' flashed across his 
mind. He looked at Gemma, and fancied he 
detected an ironical look in her eyes. He 
began saying good-bye. 

'Till to-morrow? Till to-morrow, isn't it?' 
queried Frau Lenore. 

* Till to-morrow ! ' Gemma declared in a tone 

28 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

not of interrogation, but of affirmation, as 
though it could not be otherwise. 

'Till to-morrow!' echoed Sanin. 

Emil, Pantaleone, and the poodle Tartaglia 
accompanied him to the corner of the street. 
Pantaleone could not refrain from expressing 
his displeasure at Gemma's reading. 

' She ought to be ashamed ! She mouths 
and whines, una caricatiira ! She ought to 
represent Merope or Clytemnaestra — somethingVx 
grand, tragic — and she apes some wretched 
German woman ! I can do that . . . merz^ 
kerz, smcrzl he went on in a hoarse voice 
poking his face forward, and brandishing his 
fingers. Tartaglia began barking at him, while 
Emil burst out laughing. The old man turned 
sharply back. 

Sanin went back to the White Swan (he 
had left his things there in the public hall) 
in a rather confused frame of mind. All the 
talk he had had in French, German, and 
Italian was ringing in his ears. 

• Engaged ! ' he whispered as he lay in bed, 
in the modest apartment assigned to him. 
* And what a beauty ! But what did I stay 
for?' - - 

Next day he sent a letter to his friend in 
Berlin. 



-t 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 



VIII 

He had not finished dressing, when a waiter 
announced the arrival of two gentlemen. One 
of them turned out to be Emil ; the other, a 
good-looking and well-grown young man, with 
a handsome face, was Herr Karl Klu ber, the 
betrothed of the lovely Gemma! " 

One may safely assume that at that time in 
all Frankfort, there was not in a single shop 
a manager as civil, as decorous, as dignified, 
and as affable as Herr Kluber. The irreproach- 
able perfection of his get-up was on a level 
with the dignity of his deportment, with the 
elegance — a little affected and stiff, it is true, 
in Jjif „,torltnh r^ty]r (he had spent two years 
in England) — but still fascinating, elegance of 
his manners ! It was clear from the first glance 
that this handsome, rather severe, excellently 
brought-up and superbly washed young man 
was accustomed to obey his superior and -to 
command his inferior, and that behind the 
counter of hir'*§t!b'p'"He''iri'ust infallibly inspire 
respect even in his customers! Of his super- 
natural honesty there could never be a particle 
of doubt : one had but to look at his stiffly 
starched collars ! And his voice, it appeared, 
30 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

was just what one would expect ; deep, and of 
a self-confident richness, but not too loud, with 
positively a certain caressing note in its timbre. 
Such a voice was peculiarly fitted to give 
orders to assistants under his control : ' Show 
the crimson Lyons velvet ! ' or, ' Hand the lady 
a chair!' 

Herr Kliiber began with introducing himself; 
as he did so, he bowed with such loftiness, 
moved his legs with such an agreeable air, and 
drew his heels together with such polished 
courtesy that no one could fail to feel, ' that 
man has both linen and moral principles of the 
first quality ! ' The finish of his bare right hand 
— (the left, in a suede glove, held a hat shining 
like a looking-glass, with the right glove placed 
within it) — the finish of the right hand, prof- 
fered modestly but resolutely to Sanin, sur- 
passed all belief; each finger-nail was a per- 
fectioa. in. its own way! Then he proceeded 
to explain in the choicest German that he was 
anxious to express his respect and his indebted- 
ness to the foreign gentleman who had per- 
formed so signal a service to his future kinsman, 
the brother of his betrothed ; as he spoke, he 
waved his left hand with the hat in it in the 
direction of Emil, who seemed bashful and 
turning away to the window, put his finger in 
his mouth. Herr Kliiber added that he should 
31 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

esteem himself happy should he be able in 
return to do anything for the foreign gentle- | 
man. Sanin, with some difficulty, replied, also 
in German, that he was delighted . . . that the 
service was not worth speaking of . . . and he 
begged his guests to sit down. Herr Kliiber 
thanked him, and lifting his coat-tails, sat down 
on a chair ; but he perched there so lightly 
and with such a transitory air that no one 
could fail to realise, * this man is sitting down 
from politeness, and will fly up again in an 
instant' And he did in fact fly up again 
quickly, and advancing with two discreet 
little dance-steps, he announced that to his 
regret he was unable to stay any longer, as he 
had to hasten to his shop — business before 
everything ! but as the next day was Sunday, 
he had, with the consent of Frau Lenore and 
Fraulein Gemma, arranged a holiday excursion 
to Soden, to which he had the honour of invit- 
ing the foreign gentleman, and he cherished 
the hope that he would not refuse to grace the 
party with his presence. Sanin did not refuse 
so to grace it ; and Herr Kliiber repeating once 
more his complimentary sentiments, took leave, 
his pea-green trousers making a spot of cheerful 
colour, and his brand-new boots squeaking 
cheerfully as he moved. 



32 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 



IX 



Emil, who had continued to stand with his 
face to the window, even after Sanin's invita- 
tion to him to sit down, turned round directly 
his future kinsman had gone out, and with a 
childish pout and blush, asked Sanin if he 
might remain a little while with him. * I am 
much better to-day,' he added, ' but the doctor 
has forbidden me to do any work.' 

' Stay by all means ! You won't be in the 
least in my way,* Sanin cried at once. Like 
every true Russian he was glad to clutch at 
any excuse that saved him from the necessity 
of doing anything himself. 

Emil thanked him, and in a very short time 
he was completely at home with him and with 
his room ; he looked at all his things, asked 
him about almost every one of them, where he 
had bought it, and what was its value. He 
helped him to shave, observing that it was a 
mistake not to let his moustache grow ; and 
finally told him a number of details about his 
mother, his sister, Pantaleone, the poodle Tar- 
taglia, and all their daily life. Every semblance 
of timidity vanished in Emil ; he suddenly felt 
extraordinarily attracted to Sanin — not at all 
c 33 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

because he had saved his life the day before, 
but because he was such a nice person ! He 
lost no time in confiding all his secrets to Sanin. 
He expatiated with special warmth on the fact 
that his mother was set on making him a shop- 
keeper, while he k7iew^ knew for certain, that he 
was born an artist, a musician, a singer ; that 
Pantaleone even encouraged him, but that Herr 
Kluber supported mamma, over whom he had 
great influence ; that the very idea of his being 
a shopkeeper really originated with Herr 
KlubetT'wlio^''^ In the 

w6rT3"co'uld CQiCP'^ie'^vitli trade ! To measure 
outTcloth — and cheat the public, extorting from 
it ^ Narren — oder Russen Preise' (fools' — or 
Russian prices) — that was his ideal ! ^ 

' Come ! now you must come and see us ! ' 
he cried, directly Sanin had finished his toilet 
and written his letter to Berlin. 

'It's early yet,' observed Sanin. 

* That 's no matter,' replied Emil caressingly. 
' Come along ! We '11 go to the post — and from 
there to our place. Gemma will be so glad to 
see you ! You must have lunch with us. . . . 



^ In former days — and very likely it is not different now — 
when, from May onwards, a great number of Russians visited 
Frankfort, prices rose in all the shops, and were called ' Rus- 
sians',' or, alas ! ' fools' prices.' 

34 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

You might say a word to mamma about me, 
my career. . . .' 

'Very well, let's go,' said Sanin, and they 
set off. 



X 

Gemma certainly was delighted to see him, and 
Frau Lenore gave him a very friendly wel- 
come ; he had obviously made a good impres- 
sion on both of them the evening before. Emil 
ran to see to getting lunch ready, after a pre- 
liminary whisper, ' don't forget 1 ' in Sanin's 
ear. 

' I won't forget,' responded Sanin. 

Frau Lenore was not quite well ; she had a 
sick headache, and, half-lying down in an easy 
chair, she tried to keep perfectly still. Gemma 
wore a full yellow blouse, with a black leather 
belt round the waist ; she too seemed exhausted, 
and was rather pale ; there were dark rings 
round her eyes, but their lustre was not the less 
for it ; it added something of charm and 
mystery to the classical lines of her face. 
Sanin was especially struck that day by the 
exquisite beauty of her hands ; when she 
smoothed and put back her dark, glossy tresses 
he could not take his eyes off her long supple 

35 

if 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

fingers, held slightly apart from one another 
like the hand of Raphael's Fornarina. 

It was very hot out-of-doors ; after lunch 
Sanin was about to take leave, but they told 
him that on such a day the best thing was to 
stay where one was, and he agreed ; he stayed. 
In the back room where he was sitting with 
the ladies of the household, coolness reigned 
supreme ; the windows looked out upon a little 
garden overgrown with acacias. Multitudes of 
I bees, wasps, and humming beetles kept up a 
\ steady, eager buzz in their thick branches, 
\ which were studded with golden blossoms ; 
through the half-drawn curtains and the lowered 
blinds this never-ceasing hum made its way 
into the room, telling of the sultry heat in the 
air outside, and making the cool of the closed 
and snug abode seem the sweeter. 

Sanin talked a great deal, as on the day 
before, but not of Russia, nor of Russian life. 
Being anxious to please his young friend, who 
had been sent off to Herr Klliber's immediately 
after lunch, to acquire a knowledge of book- 
keeping, he turned the conversation on the 
comparative advantages and disadvantages of 
art and commerce. He was not surprised at 
Frau Lenore's standing up for commerce — he 
had expected that ; but Gemma too shared her 
opinion. 

36 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

'If one's an artist, and especially a singer,* 
she declared with a vigorous downward sweep 
of her hand, ' one 's got to be first-rate ! Second- 
rate 's worse than nothing ; and who can tell if 
one will arrive at being first-rate ? ' Pantaleone, 
who took part too in the conversation — (as an 
old servant and an old man he had the privilege 
of sitting down in the presence of the ladies of 
the house ; Italians are not, as a rule, strict in 
matters of etiquette) — Pantaleone, as a matter 
of course, stood like a rock for art. To tell the 
truth, his arguments were somewhat feeble ; he 
kept expatiating for the most part on the 
necessity, before all things, of possessing ^ un 
certo estro (Tinspirazione ' — a certain force of 
inspiration ! Frau Lenore remarked to him 
that he had, to be sure, possessed such an 
^ estro^ — and yet ... 'I had enemies,' Pan- 
taleone observed gloomily. ' And how do you 
know that Emil will not have enemies, even 
if this " est7'o " is found in him ? ' * Very well, 
make a tradesman of him, then,' retorted Pan- 
taleone in vexation ; *but Giovan' Battista would 
never have done it, though he was a confec- 
tioner himself!' 'Giovan' Battista, my hus- 
band, was a reasonable man, and even though 
he was in his youth led away . . .' But the 
old man would hear nothing more, and walked 
away, repeating reproachfully, * Ah ! Giovan' 
37 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Battista ! . . .' Gemma exclaimed that if Emil 
felt like a patriot, and wanted to devote all his 
powers to the liberation of Italy, then, of course, 
for such a high and holy cause he might sacri- 
fice the security of the future — but not for the 
theatre ! Thereupon Frau Lenore became 
much agitated, and began to implore her 
daughter to refrain at least from turning her 
brother's head, and to content herself with 
being such a desperate republican herself! 
Frau Lenore groaned as she uttered these 
words, and began complaining of her head, 
which was ' ready to split' (Frau Lenore, in 
deference to their guest, talked to her daughter 
in French.) 

Gemma began at once to wait upon her ; she 
moistened her forehead with eau-de-cologne, 
gently blew on it, gently kissed her cheek, 
made her lay her head on a pillow, forbade her 
to speak, and kissed her again. Then, turning 
to Sanin, she began telling him in a half-joking, 
half-tender tone what a splendid mother she 
had, and what a beauty she had been. ' " Had 
been," did I say ? she is charming now ! Look, 
look, what eyes ! ' 

Gemma instantly pulled a white handkerchief 
out of her pocket, covered her mother's face 
with it, and slowly drawing it downwards, 
gradually uncovered Frau Lenore's forehead, 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

eyebrows, and eyes ; she waited a moment and 
asked her to open them. Her mother obeyed ; 
Gemma cried out in ecstasy (Frau Lenore's 
eyes really were very beautiful), and rapidly 
sliding the handkerchief over the lower, less 
regular part of the face, fell to kissing her again. 
Frau Lenore laughed, and turning a little away, 
with a pretence of violence, pushed her daughter 
away. She too pretended to struggle with her 
mother, and lavished caresses on her — not like 
a cat, in the French manner, but with that 
special Italian grace in which is always felt the 
presence of power. 

At last Frau Lenore declared she was tired 
out. . . Then Gemma at once advised her to 
have a little nap, where she was, in her chair, 
' and I and the Russian gentleman — " avec le 
monsieur russe'' — will be as quiet, as quiet . . . 
as little mice ... " comme des petites sourish ' 
Frau Lenore smiled at her in reply, closed her 
eyes, and after a few sighs began to doze. 
Gemma quickly dropped down on a bench 
beside her and did not stir again, only from 
time to time she put a finger of one hand to her 
lips — with the other hand she was holding up 
a pillow behind her mother's head — and said 
softly, ' sh-sh ! ' with a sidelong look at Sanin, if 
he permitted himself the smallest movement. 
In the end he too sank into a kind of dream, and 
39 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

sat motionless as though spell-bound, while all 
his faculties were absorbed in admiring the 
picture presented him by the half-dark room, 
here and there spotted with patches of light 
crimson, where fresh, luxuriant roses stood in the 
old-fashioned green glasses, and the sleeping 
woman with demurely folded hands and kind, 
weary face, framed in the snowy whiteness of 
the pillow, and the young, keenly-alert and also 
kind, clever, pure, and unspeakably beautiful 
creature with such black, deep, overshadowed, 
yet shining eyes. . . . What was it ? A 
dream ? a fairy tale ? And how came he to be 
in it? 



XI 

The bell tinkled at the outer door. A young 
peasant lad in a fur cap and a red waistcoat 
came into the shop from the street. Not one 
customer had looked into it since early morn- 
ing ... * You see how much business we do ! ' 
Frau Lenore observed to Sanin at lunch-time 
with a sigh. She was still asleep ; Gemma was 
afraid to take her arm from the pillow, and 
whispered to Sanin : ' You go, and mind the 
shop for me ! ' Sanin went on tiptoe into the 
shop at once. The boy wanted a quarter of a 
40 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

pound of peppermints. ' How much must I 
take ? ' Sanin whispered from the door to 
Gemma. ' Six kreutzers ! ' she answered in 
the same whisper. Sanin weighed out a quarter 
of a pound, found some paper, twisted it into 
a cone, tipped the peppermints into it, spilt 
them, tipped them in again, spilt them again, 
at last handed them to the boy, and took the 
money. . . . The boy gazed at him in amaze- 
ment, twisting his cap in his hands on his 
stomach, and in the next room, Gemma was 
stifling with suppressed laughter. Before the 
first customer had walked out, a second 
appeared, then a third. ... * I bring luck, it 's 
clear ! ' thought Sanin. The second customer 
wanted a glass of orangeade, the third, half-a- 
pound of sweets. Sanin satisfied their needs, 
zealously clattering the spoons, changing the 
saucers, and eagerly plunging his fingers into 
drawers and jars. On reckoning up, it appeared 
that he had charged too little for the orangeade, 
and taken two kreutzers too much for the sweets. 
Gemma did not cease laughing softly, and Sanin 
too was aware of an extraordinary lightness of 
heart, a peculiarly happy state of mind. He 
felt as if he had for ever been standing behind 
the counter and dealing in orangeade and sweet- 
meats, with that exquisite creature looking at 
him through the doorway with affectionately 
41 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

mocking eyes, while the summer sun, forcing 

its way through the sturdy leafage of the chest- 

i nuts that grew in front of the windows, filled 

' the whole room with the greenish-gold of the 

midday light and shade, and the heart grew 

soft in the sweet languor of idleness, careless- 

-.ness, and youth — first youth! "■' 

A fourth customer asked for a cup of coffee ; 
Pantaleone had to be appealed to. (Emil had 
not yet come back from Herr Kliiber's shop.) 
Sanin went and sat by Gemma again. Frau 
Lenore still went on sleeping, to her daughter's 
great delight. * Mamma always sleeps off her 
sick headaches,' she observed. Sanin began 
talking — in a whisper, of course, as before — of 
his minding the shop ; very seriously inquired 
the price of various articles of confectionery ; 
Gemma just as seriously told him these prices, 
and meanwhile both of them were inwardly 
laughing together, as though conscious they 
were playing in a very amusing farce. All of 
a sudden, an organ-grinder in the street began 
playing an air from the Freischiitz : * Diirck die 
Felder, durch die Auen . . .' The dance tune 
fell shrill and quivering on the motionless air. 
Gemma started ... * He will wake mamma 1 ' 
Sanin promptly darted out into the street, 
thrust a few kreutzers into the organ-grinder's 
hand, and made him cease playing and move 
42 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

away. When he came back, Gemma thanked 
him with a little nod of the head, and with 
a pensive smile she began herself just audibly 
humming the beautiful melody of Weber's, in 
which Max expresses all the perplexities of 
first love. Then she asked Sanin whether he 
knew ' Freischiitz,' whether he was fond of 
Weber, and added that though she was herself 
an Italian, she liked sucJl music best of all. 
From Weber the conversation glided off on to 
poetry and romanticism, on to Hoffmann, whom 
every one was still reading at that time. 

And Frau Lenore still slept, and even snored 
just a little, and the sunbeams, piercing in 
narrow streaks through the shutters, were in- 
cessantly and imperceptibly shifting and travel- 
ling over the floor, the furniture. Gemma's dress, 
and the leaves and petals of the flowers. 



XII 



It appeared that Gemma was not very fond 
of Hoffmann, that she even thought him . . . 
tedious ! The fantastic, misty northern element 
in his stories was too remote from her clear, 
southern nature. 'It's all fairy-tales, all written 
for children ! ' she declared with some contempt. 
She was vaguely conscious, too, of the lack of 
43 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

poetry in Hoffmann. But there was one of 
his stories, the title of which she had forgotten, 
which she greatly liked ; more precisely speak- 
ing, it was only the beginning of this story that 
#ie liked ; the end she had either not read or 
pad forgotten. The story was about a young 
|nan who in some place, a sort of restaurant 
)erhaps, meets a girl of striking beauty, a 
i-reek ; she is accompanied by a mysterious 
[and strange, wicked old man. The young man 
[falls in love with the girl at first sight ; she 
I looks at him so mournfully, as though beseech- 
fing him to deliver her. . . . He goes out for an 
I instant, and, coming back into the restaurant, 
finds there neither the girl nor the old man ; he 
rushes off in pursuit of her, continually comes 
upon fresh traces of her, follows them up, and 
can never by any means come upon her any- 
where. The lovely girl has vanished for him for 
ever and ever, and he is never able to forget her 
imploring glance, and is tortured by the thought 
that all the happiness of his life, perhaps, has 
slipped through his fingers. 

Hoffmann does not end his story quite in 

that way ; but so it had taken shape, so it had 

remained, in Gemma's memory. 

'^' * I fancy,' she said, 'such meetings and such 

■/■ partings happen oftener in the world than we 

suppose.' 

44 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Sanin was silent . . . and soon after he began 
talking ... of Herr Kliiber. It was the first 
time he had referred to him ; he had not once 
remembered him till that instant. 

Gemma was silent in her turn, and sank into 
thought, biting the nail of her forefinger and 
fixing her eyes away. Then she began to 
speak in praise of her betrothed, alluded to 
the excursion he had planned for the next 
day, and, glancing swiftly at Sanin, was silent 
again. 

Sanin did not know on what subject to turn 
the conversation. 

Emil ran in noisily and waked Frau Lenore 
. . . Sanin was relieved by his appearance. 

Frau Lenore got up from her low chair. 
Pantaleone came in and announced that dinner 
was ready. The friend of the family, ex-, 
singer, and servant also performed the duties 
of cook. 



XIII 

Sanin stayed on after dinner too. They did 
not let him go, still on the same pretext of the 
terrible heat ; and when the heat began to de- 
crease, they proposed going out into the garden 
to drink coffee in the shade of the acacias. 
45 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Sanin consented. He felt very happy. In the 
quietly monotonous, smooth current of life lie 
hid great delights, and he gave himself up to 
these delights with zest, asking nothing much 
of the present day, but also thinking nothing 
of the morrow, nor recalling the day before. 
How much the mere society of such a girl as 
Gemma meant to him ! He would shortly part 
from her and, most likely, for ever ; but so long 
as they were borne, as in Uhland's song, in one 
skiff over the sea of life, untossed by tempest, 
well might the traveller rejoice and be glad. 
And everything seemed sweet and delightful 
to the happy voyager. Frau Lenore offered to 
play against him and Pantaleone at ' tresette,' 
instructed him in this not complicated Italian 
game, and won a few kreutzers from him, and 
he was well content. Pantaleone, at Emil's 
request, made the poodle, Tartaglia, perform 
all his tricks, and Tartaglia jumped over a stick 
' spoke,' that is, barked, sneezed, shut the door 
with his nose, fetched his master's trodden-down 
slippers ; and, finally, with an old cap on his 
head, he portrayed Marshal Bernadotte, sub- 
jected to the bitterest upbraidings by the 
Emperor Napoleon on account of his treachery. 
Napoleon's part was, of course, performed by 
Pantaleone, and very faithfully he performed 
it : he folded his arms across his chest, pulled 
46 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

a cocked hat over his eyes, and spoke very 
gruffly and sternly, in French — and heavens ! 
what French ! Tartaglia sat before his sove- 
reign, all huddled up, with dejected tail, and 
eyes blinking and twitching in confusion, under 
the peak of his cap which was stuck on awry ; 
from time to time when Napoleon raised his \^ 
voice, Bernadotte rose on his hind paws. * Ftiori, 
traditore /' cried Napoleon at last, forgetting in 
the excess of his wrath that he had to sus- 
tain his role as a Frenchman to the end ; and 
Bernadotte promptly flew under the sofa, but 
quickly darted out again with a joyful bark, 
as though to announce that the performance 
was over. All the spectators laughed, and 
Sanin more than all. 

Gemma had a particularly charming, con- 
tinual, soft laugh, with very droll little shrieks. 
. . . Sanin was fairly enchanted by that laugh 
— he could have kissed her for those shrieks ! 

Night came on at last. He had in decency 
to take leave ! After saying good-bye several 
times over to every one, and repeating several 
times to all, ' till to-morrow ! ' — Emil he went 
so far as to kiss — Sanin started home, carrying 
with him the image of the young girl, at one 
time laughing, at another thoughtful, calm, and 
even indifferent — but always attractive ! Her 
eyes, at one time wide open, clear and bright 
47 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

as day, at another time half shrouded by the 
lashes and deep and dark as night, seemed to 
float before his eyes, piercing in a strange 
sweet way across all other images and recol- 
lections. 

Of Herr Kluber, of the causes impelling him 
to remain in Frankfort — in short, of everything 
that had disturbed his mind the evening before 
— he never thought once. 



XIV 

We must, however, say a few words about 
Sanin himself. 

In the first place, he was very, very good- 
looking. A handsome, graceful figure, agree- 
able, rather unformed features, kindly bluish 
eyes, golden hair, a clear white and red skin, 
and, above all, that peculiar, naively-cheerful, 
confiding, open, at the first glance, somewhat 
foolish expression, by which in former days 
one could recognise directly the children of 
steady-going, noble families, 'sons of their 
fathers,' fine young landowners, born and 
reared in our open, half-wild country parts, — 
a hesitating gait, a voice with a lisp, a smile 
like a child's the minute you looked at him . . . 
lastly, freshness, health, softness, softness, soft- 
48 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

ness, — there you have the whole of Sanin. 
And secondly, he was not stupid and had 
picked up a fair amount of knowledge. Fresh 
he had remained, for all his foreign tour ; the 
disturbing emotions in which the greater part 
of the young people of that day were tempest- 
tossed were very little known to him. 

Of late years, in response to the assiduous 
search for ' new types,' young men have begun 
to appear in our literature, determined at all 
hazards to be * fresh ' ... as fresh as Flensburg 
oysters, when they reach Petersburg. . . . Sanin 
was not like them. Since we have had recourse 
already to simile, he rather recalled a young, 
leafy, freshly-grafted apple-tree in one of our 
fertile orchards — or better still, a well-groomed, 
sleek, sturdy-limbed, tender young ' three-year- 
old ' in some old-fashioned seignorial stud 
stable, a young horse that they have hardly 
begun to break in to the traces. . . . Those 
who came across Sanin in later years, when 
life had knocked him about a good deal, and 
the sleekness and plumpness of youth had 
long vanished, saw in him a totally different/ 
man. / 

Next day Sanin was still in bed when Emil, 
in his best clothes, with a cane in his hand and 
much pomade on his head, burst into his room, 
D 49 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

announcing that Herr Kliiber would be here 
directly with the carriage, that the weather 
promised to be exquisite, that they had every- 
thing ready by now, but that mamma was not 
going, as her head was bad again. He began 
to hurry Sanin, telling him that there was not 
a minute to lose. . . . And Herr Kliiber did, 
in fact, find Sanin still at his toilet. He 
knocked at the door, came in, bowed with a 
bend from the waist, expressed his readiness 
to wait as long as might be desired, and sat 
down, his hat balanced elegantly on his knees. 
The handsome shop-manager had got himself 
up and perfumed himself to excess : his every 
action was accompanied by a powerful whiff of 
the most refined aroma. He arrived in a 
comfortable open carriage — one of the kind 
called landau — drawn by two tall and powerful 
but not well-shaped horses. A quarter of an 
hour later Sanin, Kliiber, and Emil, in this 
same carriage, drew up triumphantly at the 
steps of the confectioner's shop. Madame 
Roselli resolutely refused to join the party ; 
Gemma wanted to stay with her mother ; but 
she simply turned her out. 

* I don't want any one,' she declared ; * I 
shall go to sleep. I would send Pantaleone 
with you too, only there would be no one to 
mind the shop.' 

50 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* May we take Tartaglia ? ' asked Emil. 

' Of course you may.' 

Tartaglia immediately scrambled, with de- 
lighted struggles, on to the box and sat there, 
licking himself; it was obviously a thing he 
was accustomed to. Gemma put on a large 
straw hat with brown ribbons ; the hat was 
bent down in front, so as to shade almost the 
whole of her face from the sun. The line of 
shadow stopped just at her lips ; they wore 
a tender maiden flush, like the petals of a 
centifoil rose, and her teeth gleamed stealthily 
— innocently too, as when children smile. 
Gemma sat facing the horses, with Sanin ; 
Kliiber and Emil sat opposite. The pale face 
of Frau Lenore appeared at the window ; 
Gemma waved her handkerchief to her, and 
the horses started. 



XV 



SODEN is a little town half an hour's distance 
from Frankfort. It lies in a beautiful country 
among the spurs of the Taunus Mountains, and 
is known among us in Russia for its waters, 
which are supposed to be beneficial to people 
with weak lungs. The Frankforters visit it 
more for purposes of recreation, as Soden pos- 
51 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

sesses a fine park and various ' wirthschaften,' 
where one may drink beer and coffee in the 
shade of the tall limes and maples. The road 
from Frankfort to Soden runs along the right 
bank of the Maine, and is planted all along 
with fruit trees. While the carriage was 
rolling slowly along an excellent road, Sanin 
stealthily watched how Gemma behaved to 
her betrothed ; it was the first time he had 
seen them together.^jS^-.was.45u-iet and simple 
in her ..manner, but ratber more reserved and 
serious than usual \_Jie_ had the air of a con- 
descending schoolmaster, permitting himself 
atid-thtJse'Tmdei" his authority a discreet and 
decorous pleasure. Sanin saw no signs in him 
of any marked attentiveness, of what the 
French call ^ empressement^ in his demeanour 
to Gemma. It was clear that Herr Kliiber 
considered that it was a matter settled once 
for all, and that therefore he saw no reason to 
trouble or excite himself. But his condescen- 
sion never left him for an instant ! Even 
during a long ramble before dinner about the 
wooded hills and valleys behind Soden, even 
when enjoying the beauties of nature, he 
tre9,t.gd^ nature itself w^th the same condescen- 
sion, througfi'"w1iich his fiabitual magisterial 
severity peeped out from time to time. So, for 
example, he observed in regard to one stream 
52 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

that it ran too straight through the glade, 
instead of making a few picturesque curves ; 
he disapproved, too, of the conduct of a bird 
— a chaffinch — for singing so monotonously. 
Gemma was not bored, and even, apparently, 
was enjoying herself; but Sanin did not recog- 
nise her as the Gemma of the preceding days ; 
it was not that she seemed under a cloud — her 
beauty had never been more dazzling — but her 
soul seemed to have withdrawn into herself. 
With her parasol open and her gloves still 
buttoned up, she walked sedately, deliberately, 
as well-bred young girls walk, and spoke 
little. Emil, too, felt stiff, and Sanin more 
so than all. He was somewhat embarrassed 
too by the fact that the conversation was all 
the time in German. Only Tartaglia was in 
high spirits ! He darted, barking frantically, 
after blackbirds, leaped over ravines, stumps 
and roots, rushed headlong into the water, 
lapped at it in desperate haste, shook himself, 
whining, and was off like an arrow, his red 
tongue trailing after him almost to his shoulder. 
Herr Kliiber, for his part, did everything he 
supposed conducive to the mirthfulness of the 
company ; he begged them to sit down in the 
shade of a spreading oak-tree, and taking out 
of a side pocket a small booklet entitled, 
* Knallerhsen ; oder du sollst und wirst lachen ! ' 
53 



A 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

^Squibs ; or you must and shall laugh !) began 
reading the funny anecdotes of which the little 
book was full. He read them twelve speci- 
mens ; he aroused very little mirth, however ; 
only Sanin smiled, from politeness, and he 
himself, Herr KlUber, after each anecdote, gave 
vent to a brief, business-like, but still con- 
descending laugh. At twelve o'clock the whole 
party returned to Soden to the best tavern 
there. 

They had to make arrangements about 
dinner. Herr Kluber proposed that the dinner 
should be served in a summer-house closed in 
on all sides — ' im Garteitsalon ' ; but at this 
point Gemma rebelled and declared that she 
would have dinner in the open air, in the 
garden, at one of the little tables set before 
the tavern ; that she was tired of being all the 
while with the same faces, and she wanted to 
see fresh ones. At some of the little tables, 
groups of visitors were already sitting. 

While Herr Kluber, yielding condescendingly 
to ' the caprice of his betrothed,' went off to 
interview the head waiter, Gemma stood im- 
movable, biting her lips and looking on the 
ground ; she was conscious that Sanin was 
persistently and, as it were, inquiringly looking 
at her — it seemed to enrage her. At last Herr 
Kluber returned, announced that dinner would 
54 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

be ready in half an hour, and proposed their 
employing the interval in a game of skittles, 
adding that this was very good for the appe- 
tite, he, he, he ! Skittles he played in masterly 
fashion ; as he threw the ball, he put himself 
into amazingly heroic postures, with artistic 
play of the muscles, with artistic flourish and 
shake of the leg. In his own way he was an 
athlete — and was superbly built ! His hands, 
too, were so white and handsome, and he 
wiped them on such a sumptuous, gold-striped, 
Indian bandana ! 

The moment of dinner arrived, and the whole 
party seated themselves at the table. 



XVI 

Who does not know what a German dinner is 
like ? Watery soup with knobby dumplings 
and pieces of cinnamon, boiled beef dry as cork, 
with white fat attached, slimy potatoes, soft 
beetroot and mashed horseradish, a bluish eel 
with French capers and vinegar, a roast joint 
with jam, and the inevitable ' MeJilspeise' some- 
thing of the nature of a pudding with sourish 
red sauce ; but to make up, the beer and wine 
first-rate ! With just such a dinner the tavern- 
keeper at Soden regaled his customers. The 
55 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

dinner, itself, however, went off satisfactorily. 
No special liveliness was perceptible, certainly ; 
not even when Herr Kluber proposed the toast 
' What we like ! ' (Was wir lieben !) But at 
least everything was decorous and seemly. 
After dinner, coffee was served, thin, reddish, 
typically German coffee. Herr Kluber, with 
true gallantry, asked Gemma's permission to 
smoke a cigar. . . . But at this point suddenly 
something occurred, unexpected, and decidedly 
unpleasant, and even unseemly ! 

At one of the tables near were sitting several 
officers of the garrison of the Maine. From 
their glances and whispering together it was 
easy to perceive that they were struck by 
Gemma's beauty ; one of them, who had 
probably stayed in Frankfort, stared at her 
persistently, as at a figure familiar to him ; he 
obviously knew who she was. He suddenly 
got up, and glass in hand — all the officers had 
been drinking hard, and the cloth before them 
was crowded with bottles — approached the 
table at which Gemma was sitting. He was a 
very young flaxen-haired man, with a rather 
pleasing and even attractive face, but his 
features were distorted with the wine he had 
drunk, his cheeks were twitching, his blood-shot 
eyes wandered, and wore an insolent expression. 
His companions at first tried to hold him back, 
56 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

but afterwards let him go, interested apparently 
to see what he would do, and how it would 
end. Slightly unsteady on his legs, the officer 
stopped before Gemma, and in an unnaturally 
screaming voice, in which, in spite of himself, 
an inward struggle could be discerned, he 
articulated, ' I drink to the health of the 
prettiest confectioner in all Frankfort, in all 
the world (he emptied his glass), and in return 
I take this flower, picked by her divine little 
fingers ! ' He took from the table a rose that 
lay beside Gemma's plate. At first she was 
astonished, alarmed, and turned fearfully white 
. . . then alarm was replaced by indignation ; 
she suddenly crimsoned all over, to her very 
hair — and her eyes, fastened directly on the 
offender, at the same tirne darkened and 
flamed, they were filled with black gloom, and 
burned with the fire of irrepxes*ibie-fury. The 
officer must have been confused by this look ; 
he muttered something unintelligible, bowed, 
and walked back to his friends. They greeted 
him with a laugh, and faint applause. 

Herr Kluber rose spasmodically from his 
seat, drew himself up to his full height, and 
putting on his hat pronounced with dignity, 
but not too loud, ' Unheard of 1 " Unheard of ! 
Unheard of impertinence ! ' and at once calling 
up the waiter, in a" seveFe voice asked for the 
57 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

bill . . . more than that, ordered the carriage 
to be put to, adding that it was impossible for 
respectable people to frequent the establishment 
if they were exposed to insult ! At those 
words Gemma, who still sat in her place without 

(stirring — her bosom was heaving violently — 
Gemma raised her eyes to Herr Kliiber . . . 
and she gazed as intently, with the same 
expression at him as at the officer. Emil was 
, simply shaking with rage. 

* Get up, mein Frdulein^ Kliiber admonished 
her with the same severity, * it is not proper for 
you to remain here. We will go inside, in the 
tavern ! ' 

Gemma rose in silence ; he offered her his 
arm, she gave him hers, and he walked into the 
tavern with a majestic step, which became, with 
his whole bearing, more majestic and haughty 
the farther he got from the place where they 
had dined. Poor Emil dragged himself after 
them. 

Bu.t wMfi^ii^^ -i^iwi^J^ up with 

t h e,>!y!;a*t««^*t'b"^hl^M, '^^^ p f , p un i s h m e n t , he 

gave not a single kreutzer for himself, Sanin 
with rapid steps approached the table at which 
the officers were sitting, and addressing Gemma's 
assailant, who was at that instant offering her 
rose to his companions in turns to smell, he 
uttered very distinctly in French, ' What you 
58 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

have just done, sir, is conduct unworthy of an 
honest man, unworthy of the uniform you 
wear, and I have come to tell you you are an 
ill-bred cur ! ' The young man leaped on to 
his feet, but another officer, rather older, checked 
him with a gesture, made him sit down, and 
turning to Sanin asked him also in French, 
' Was he a relation, brother, or betrothed of the 
girl?' 

* I am nothing to her at all,' cried Sanin, ' I 
am a Russian, but I cannot look on at such 
insolence with indifference ; but here is my 
card and my address ; monsieur Vofficier can 
find me.' 

As he uttered these words, Sanin threw his 
visiting-card on the table, and at the same 
moment hastily snatched Gemma's rose, which 
one of the officers sitting at the table had 
dropped into his plate. The young man was 
again on the point of jumping up from the 
table, but his companion again checked him, 
saying, * Donhof, be quiet ! Donhof, sit still.' 
Then he got up himself, and putting his hand 
to the peak of his cap, with a certain shade of 
respectfulness in his voice and manner, told 
Sanin that to-morrow morning an officer of the 
regiment would have the honour of calling upon 
him. Sanin replied with a short bow, and 
hurriedly returned to his friends. 
59 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Herr Kliiber pretended he had not noticed 
either Sanin's absence nor his interview with 
the officers ; he was urging on the coachman, 
who was putting in the horses, and was furiously 
angry at his deliberateness. Gemma too said 
nothing to Sanin, she did not even look at him ; 
from her knitted brows, from her pale and 
compressed lips, from her very immobility it 
could be seen that she was suffering inwardly. 
Only Emil obviously wanted to speak to 
Sanin, wanted to question him ; he had seen 
Sanin go up to the officers, he had seen him 
give them something white — a scrap of paper, 
a note, or a card. . . . The poor boy's heart was 
beating, his cheeks burned, he was ready to 
throw himself on Sanin's neck, ready to cry, or 
to go with him at once to crush all those 
accursed officers into dust and ashes ! He 
controlled himself, however, and did no more 
than watch intently every movement of his 
noble Russian friend. 

The coachman had at last harnessed the 
horses ; the whole party seated themselves in 
the carriage. Emil climbed on to the box, 
after Tartaglia ; he was more comfortable 
there, and had not Kliiber, whom he could 
hardly bear the sight of, sitting opposite to him. 

The whole way home Herr Kliiber dis- 
60 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

coursed . . . and he discoursed alone ; no one, 
absoTutelyTTO-one, opp oaed liiili; ifTgrgT(rahy one 
agree with him. He especially insisted on the 
point that they had been wrong in not following 
his advice when he suggested dining in a shut- 
up summer-house. There no unpleasantness 
could have occurred ! Then he expressed a 
few decided and even liberal sentiments on the 
unpardonable way in which the government 
favoured the military, neglected their discipline, 
and did not sufficiently consider the civilian 
element in society {das biirgerliche Element 
in der Societdt I), and foretold that in time this 
cause would give rise to discontent, which might 
well pass into revolution, of which (here he 
dropped a sympathetic though severe sigh) 
France had given them a sorrowful example ! 
He added, however, that he personally had the 
greatest respect for authority, and never . . . 
no, never ! . . . could be a revolutionist — but he 
could not but express his . . . disapprobation 
at the sight of such licence ! Then he made a 
few general observations on morality and 
immorality, good-breeding, and the sense of 
dignity. 

During all these lucubrations. Gemma, who 

even while they were walking before dinner had 

not seeinexij2Hi^ pleased with Herr Kliiber, 

and had therefore heTH'Tather'aToorti'CffTrSanin, 

6i 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

and had been, as it were, embarrassed by his 
presence — Gemma was unmistakably ashamed 
of her betrothed ! Towards the end of the 
drive she was positively wretched, and though, 
as before, she did not address a word to Sanin, 
she suddenly flung an imploring glance at him. 
. . . He, for his part, felt much more sorry for 
her than indignant with Herr Kliiber ; he was 
even secretly, half-consciously, delighted at 
what had happened in the course of that day, 
even though he had every reason to expect a 
challenge next morning. 

This miserable pai'tie de plaisir came to an 
end at last. As he helped Gemma out of the 
carriage at the confectionery shop, Sanin with- 
out a word put into her hand the rose he had 
recovered. She flushed crimson, pressed his 
hand, and instantly hid the rose. He did not 
want to go into the house, though the evening 
was only just beginning. She did not even 
invite him. Moreover Pantaleone, who came 
out on the steps, announced that Frau Lenore 
was asleep. Emil took a shy good-bye of 
Sanin ; he felt as it were in awe of him ; he 
greatly admired him. Kliiber saw Sanin to his 
lodging, and took leave of him stiffly. The 
well-regulated German, for all his self-con- 
fidence, felt awkward. And indeed every one 
felt awkward. 

62 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

But in Sanin this feeling of awkwardness 
soon passed off. It was replaced by a vague, 
■~4iut__£leasant, even triumphant feeling. He 
vvalked'up'^ii^'(?o\vri Tils room, whistling, and 
not caring to think about anything, and was 
very well pleased with himself 



XVII 

' I WILL wait for the officer's visit till ten 
o'clock,' he reflected next morning, as he 
dressed, * and then let him come and look for 
me ! ' But Germans rise early : it had not yet 
struck nine when the waiter informed Sanin 
that the Herr Seconde Lieutenant von Richter 
wished to see him. Sanin made haste to put 
on his coat, and told him to ask him up. Herr 
Richter turned out, contrary to Sanin's expecta- 
tion, to be a very young man, almost a boy. 
He tried to give an expression of dignity to 
his beardless face, but did not succeed at all : 
he could not even conceal his embarrassment, 
and as he sat down on a chair, he tripped over 
his sword, and almost fell. Stammering and 
hesitating, he announced to Sanin in bad 
French that he had come with a message from 
his friend, Baron von Donhof ; that this message 
was to demand from Herr von Sanin an apology 
63 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

for the insulting expressions used by him on 
the previous day ; and in case of refusal on 
the part of Herr von Sanin, Baron von Donhof 
would ask for satisfaction. Sanin replied that 
he did not mean to apologise, but was ready 
to give him satisfaction. Then Herr von 
Richter, still with the same hesitation, asked 
with whom, at what time and place, should he 
arrange the necessary preliminaries. Sanin 
answered that he might come to him in two 
hours' time, and that meanwhile, he, Sanin, 
would try and find a second. (* Who the devil 
is there I can have for a second ? ' he was 
thinking to himself meantime.) Herr von 
Richter got up and began to take leave . . . 
but at the doorway he stopped, as though stung 
by a prick of conscience, and turning to Sanin 
observed that his friend. Baron von Donhof, 
could not but recognise . . . that he had been 
... to a certain extent, to blame himself in 
the incident of the previous day, and would, 
therefore, be satisfied with slight apologies {^dcs 
exghizes lecheres!) To this Sanin replied that 
he did not intend to make any apology what- 
ever, either slight or considerable, since he did 
not consider himself to blame. ' In that case,' 
answered Herr von Richter, blushing more than 
ever, ' you will have to exchange friendly shots 
— des goups de bisdolet a famiaple ! ' 
64 



THE TORRIilNTS OF SPRING 

' I don't understand that at all,' observed 
Sanin ; ' are we to fire in the air or what ? ' 

' Oh, not exactly that,' stammered the sub- 
lieutenant, utterly disconcerted, 'but I supposed 
since it is an affair between men of honour . . . 
I will talk to your second,' he broke off, and 
went away. 

Sanin dropped into a chair directly he had 
gone, and stared at the floor. ' What does it 
all mean? How is it my life has taken sucb*«^^^^>^ 
a-tttrrt all of a- sudden ? All the past, all the '■''' 
future has suddenly vanished, gone, — and all 
that *s left is that I am going to fight some one 
about something in Frankfort.' He recalled 
a crazy aunt of his who used to dance and 
sing : 

' O my lieutenant ! 
My little cucumber ! 
My little love ! 
Dance with me, my little dove ! ' 

And he laughed and hummed as she used to : 
' O my lieutenant ! Dance with me, little dove ! ' 
' But I must act, though, I mustn't waste time,' 
he cried aloud — ^jumped up and saw Panta- 
leone facing him with a note in his hand. 

' I knocked several times, but you did not 
answer ; I thought you weren't at home,' said 
the old man, as he gave him the note. ' From 
Signorina Gemma.' 

E 65 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Sanin took the note, mechanically, as they 
say, tore it open, and read it. Gemma wrote 
to him that she was very anxious — about he 
knew what — and would be very glad to see 
him at once. 

' The Signorina is anxious,' began Panta- 
leone, who obviously knew what was in the 
note, ' she told me to see what you are doing 
and to bring you to her.' 

Sanin glanced at the old Italian, and pon- 
dered. A sudden idea flashed upon his brain. 
For the first instant it struck him as too absurd 
to be possible. 

* After all . . . why not ? ' he asked himself. 
' M. Pantaleone ! ' he said aloud. 

The old man started, tucked his chin into his 
cravat and stared at Sanin. 

' Do you know,' pursued Sanin, ' what hap- 
pened yesterday ? ' 

Pantaleone chewed his lips and shook his 
immense top-knot of hair. * Yes.' 

(Emil had told him all about it directly he 
got home.) 

* Oh, you know ! Well, an officer has just 
this minute left me. That scoundrel challenges 
me to a duel. I have accepted his challenge. 
But I have no second. Will j^ou be my 
second ? ' 

Pantaleone started and raised his eyebrows 
66 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

SO high that they were lost under his over- 
hanging hair. 

* You are absolutely obliged to fight ? ' he 
said at last in Italian ; till that instant he had 
made use of French. 

' Absolutely. I can't do otherwise — it would 
mean disgracing myself for ever.' 
' * H'm. If I don't consent to be your second 
you will find some one else.' 

'Yes . . . undoubtedly.' 

Pantaleone looked down. * But allow me to 
ask you, Signor de Tsanin, will not your duel 
throw a slur on the reputation of a certain 
lady.?' 

* I don't suppose so ; but in any case, there 's 
no help for it.' 

* H'm ! ' Pantaleone retired altogether into 
his cravat. ' Hey, but that ferroflucto Klilberio 
— what's he about?' he cried all of a sudden, 
looking up again. 

' He ? Nothing.' 

* Che ! ' Pantaleone shrugged his shoulders 
contemptuously. * I have, in any case, to thank 
you,' he articulated at last in an unsteady voice 
' that even in my present humble condition 
you recognise that I am a gentleman — uti 
galanf iioino ! In that way you have shown 
yourself to be a real galant'iiomo. But I must 
consider your proposal.' 

67 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

' There's no time to lose, dear Signor Ci . . . 
cippa . . .' 

' Tola,' the old man chimed in. ' I ask 
only for one hour for reflection. . . . The 
daughter of my benefactor is involved in this. 
. . . And, therefore, I ought, I am bound, to 
reflect ! . . . In an hour, in three-quarters of 
an hour, you shall know my decision.' 
. * Very well ; I will wait.' 

' And now . . . what answer am I to give to 
Signorina Gemma?' 

Sanin took a sheet of paper, wrote on it, 
' Set your mind at rest, dear friend ; in three 
hours' time I will come to you, and everything 
shall be explained. I thank you from my 
heart for your sympathy,' and handed this 
sheet to Pantaleone. 

He put it carefully into his side-pocket, and 
once more repeating * In an hour ! ' made to- 
wards the door ; but turning sharply back, ran 
up to Sanin, seized his hand, and pressing it 
to his shirt-front, cried, with his eyes to the 
ceiling : ' Noble youth ! Great heart ! {Nobil 
giovanotto ! Gran cuore /) permit a weak old 
man {a un vecchiotto f) to press your valorous 
right hand {la vostra valorosa dcstral)' Then 
he skipped back a pace or two, threw up both 
hands, and went away. 

Sanin looked after him . . . took up the 
68 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

newspaper and tried to read. But his eyes 
wandered in vain over the lines : he understood 
nothing. 



XVIII 

An hour later the waiter came in again to 
Sanin, and handed him an old, soiled visiting- 
card, on which were the following words : 
' Pantaleone Cippatola of Varese, court singer 
{cafitante di camera) to his Royal Highness 
the Duke of Modena ' ; and behind the waiter 
in walked Pantaleone himself. He had changed 
his clothes from top to toe. He had on a 
black frock coat, reddish with long wear, and 
a white pique waistcoat, upon which a pinch- 
beck chain meandered playfully ; a heavy 
cornelian seal hung low down on to his narrow 
black trousers. In his right hand he carried a 
black beaver hat, in his left two stout chamois 
gloves ; he had tied his cravat in a taller and 
broader bow than ever, and had stuck into 
his starched shirt-front a pin with a stone, a 
so-called ' cat's eye.' On his forefinger was 
displayed a ring, consisting of two clasped 
hands with a burning heart between them. A 
smell of garments long laid by, a smell of 
camphor and of musk hung about the whole 
69 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

person of the old man ; the anxious solemnity 
of his deportment must have struck the most 
casual spectator ! Sanin rose to meet him. 

* I am your second/ Pantaleone announced 
in French, and he bowed bending his whole 
body forward, and turning out his toes like 
a dancer. * I have come for instructions. Do 
you want to fight to the death ? ' 

' Why to the death, my dear Signor 
Cippatola ? I will not for any consideration 
take back my words — but I am not a blood- 
thirsty person ! . . . But come, wait a little, 
my opponent's second will be here directly. I 
will go into the next room, and you can make 
arrangements with him. Believe me I shall 
never forget your kindness, and I thank you 
from my heart.' 

' Honour before everything ! ' answered 
Pantaleone, and he sank into an arm-chair, 
without waiting for Sanin to ask him to sit 
down. ' If that ferroflucto spitchebubbio! he 
said, passing from French into Italian, ' if that 
counter-jumper Kliiberio could not appreciate 
his obvious duty or was afraid, so much the 
worse for him! ... A cheap soul, and that's 
all about it ! ... As for the conditions of the 
duel, I am your second, and your interests 
are sacred to me ! . . . When I lived in Padua 
there was a regiment of the white dragoons 
70 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

stationed there, and I was very intimate with 
many of the officers ! . . . I was quite familiar 
with their whole code. And I used often to 
converse on these subjects with your principe 
Tarbuski too. ... Is this second to come soon ? ' 

' I am expecting him every minute — and here 
he comes/ added Sanin, looking into the street. 

Pantaleone got up, looked at his watch, 
straightened his topknot of hair, and hurriedly 
stuffed into his shoe an end of tape which was 
sticking out below his trouser-leg, and the 
young sub-lieutenant came in, as red and 
embarrassed as ever. 

Sanin presented the seconds to each other. 
* M. Richter, sous-lieutenant, M. Cippatola, 
artiste ! ' The sub-lieutenant was slightly dis- 
concerted by the old man's appearance . . . Oh, 
u:hai-u7r>ij](^ b^ ^^.Vfi '^^'[^ had any one whispered 
tojmn at that instant "tKal tFie * artist * pre- 
senteH'tblnm was "also"efrip,|]^ed- in the culinary 
art } BnrPantat6one"'assumed an air as though 
taking part in the preliminaries of duels was 
for him the most everyday affair : probably 
he was assisted at- this juncture by the recollec- 
tions of , his theatrical career,^ andTfe played the 
part of second simply aTa" part. Both he and 
the sub-lieutenant were silent for a little. 

* Well ? Let us come to business ! ' Panta- 
leone spoke first, playing with his cornelian seal. 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* By all means,' responded the sub-lieutenant, 
' but . . . the presence of one of the princi- 
pals . . .' 

* I will leave you at once, gentlemen,' cried 
Sanin, and with a bow he went away into the 
bedroom and closed the door after him. 

He flung himself on the bed and began 
thinking of Gemma . . . but the conversation 
of the seconds reached him through the shut 
door. It was conducted in the French lan- 
guage ; both maltreated it mercilessly, each 
after his own fashion. Pantaleone again al- 
luded to the dragoons in Padua, and Principe 
Tarbuski ; the sub-lieutenant to ' exghizes 
lecheres ' and ' goiips de bistolet ct Vaniiaple^ 
But the old man would not even hear of any 
exghizes ! To Sanin's horror, he suddenly 
proceeded to talk of a certain young lady, an 
innocent maiden, whose little finger was worth 
more than all the officers in the world . . . 
{piine zeune damigella i?i7ioucenta, qua elle sola 
dans soim peti doa vale piti q7ie tout le 
zouffissU del mondo !), and repeated several 
times with heat : * It 's shameful ! it 's shame- 
ful ! ' {E ouna ofita, ouna onta !) The sub- 
lieutenant at first made him no reply, but 
presently an angry quiver could be heard in 
the young man's voice, and he observed that 
he had not come there to listen to sermonising. 
72 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

'At your age it is always a good thing to 
hear the truth ! ' cried Pantaleone. 

The debate between the seconds several times 
became stormy ; it lasted over an hour, and was 
concluded at last on the following conditions : 
* Baron von Donhof and M. de Sanin to meet 
the next day at ten o'clock in a small wood near 
Hanau, at the distance of twenty paces ; each 
to have the right to fire twice at a signal given 
by the seconds, The pistols to be single-trig- 
gered and not rifle-barrelled.' Herr von Richter 
withdrew, and Pantaleone solemnly opened the 
bedroom door, and after communicating the 
result of their deliberations, cried again : * Bravo 
Riisso! Bravo giovanotto ! You will be victor!' 

A few minutes later they both set off to the 
Rosellis' shop. Sanin, as a preliminary mea- 
sure, had exacted a promise from Pantaleone 
to keep the affair of the duel a most profound 
secret. In reply, the old man had merely held 
up his finger, and half closing his eyes, 
whispered twice over, Segredezza ! He was 
obviously in good spirits, and even walked with 
a freer step. All these unusual incidents, unplea- 
sant though they might be, carried him vividly 
back to the time when he himself both received 
and gave challenges — only, it is truc,on the stage. 
Baritones, as we all know, have a great deal of 
strutting and fuming to do in their parts. 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 



XIX 

Emil ran out to meet Sanin — he had been 
watching for his arrival over an hour — and 
hurriedly whispered into his ear that his mother 
knew nothing of the disagreeable incident of 
the day before, that he must not even hint of it 
to her, and that he was being sent to Kluber's 
shop again ! . . . but that he wouldn't go there, 
but would hide somewhere ! Communicating 
all this information in a few seconds, he 
suddenly fell on Sanin's shoulder, kissed him 
impulsively, and rushed away down the street. 
Gemma met Sanin in the shop ; tried to say 
something and could not. Her lips were tremb- 
ling a little, while her eyes were half-closed and 
turned away. He made haste to soothe her by 
the assurance that the whole affair had ended 
... in utter nonsense. 

* Has no one been to see you to-day ? ' she 
asked. 

*A person did come to me and we had an 
explanation, and we ... we came to the most 
satisfactory conclusion.' 

Gemma went back behind the counter. 

* She does not believe me ! ' he thought . . . 
he went into the next room, however, and there 
found Frau Lenore. 

74 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Her sick headache had passed off, but she 
was in a depressed state of mind. She gave 
him a smile of welcome, but warned him at the 
same time that he would be dull with her 
to-day, as she was not in a mood to entertain 
him. He sat down beside her, and noticed that 
her eyelids were red and swollen. 

' What is wrong, Frau Lenore ? You 'vc 
never been crying, surely ? ' 

' Oh ! ' she whispered, nodding her head to- 
wards the room where her daughter was. 
* Don't speak of it . . . aloud.' 

* But what have you been crying for ? ' 

' Ah, M'sieu Sanin, I don't know myself 
what for ! ' 

* No one has hurt your feelings ? ' 

' Oh no ! ... I felt very low all of a sudden. 
I thought of Giovanni Battista ... of my youth 
. . . Then how quickly it had all passed away. 
I have grown old, my friend, and I can't re- 
concile myself to that anyhow. I feel I 'm just 
the same as I was . . . but old age — it 's here ! 
it is here ! ' Tears came into Frau Lenore's 
eyes. ' You look at me, I see, and wonder. . . . 
But you will get old too, my friend, and will 
find out how bitter it is ! ' 

Sanin tried to comfort her, spoke of her 
children, in whom her own youth lived again, 
even attempted to scoff at her a little, declaring 
75 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

that she was fishing for compliments . . . but 
she quite seriously begged him to leave off, and 
for the first time he realised that for such^a— 
, ,sorrow, the despondency of old age, there is no 
■ ^^s^ comfort or cure; one has to wait till it passes off 
of itself. He proposed a game of tresette, and 
he could have thought of nothing better. She , 
agreed at once and seemed to get more cheerful, j 

Sanin played with her until dinner-time and 
after dinner Pantaleone too took a hand in 
the game. Never had his topknot hung so low 
over his forehead, never had his chin retreated 
so far into his cravat ! Every movement was 
accompanied by such intense solemnity that as 
one looked at him the thought involuntarily 
arose, ' What secret is that man guarding with 
such determination ? ' But segredezza ! segre- 
dezza ! 

During the whole of that day he tried in 
every possible way to show the profoundest 
respect for Sanin ; at table, passing by the 
ladies, he solemnly and sedately handed the 
dishes first to him ; when they were at cards he 
intentionally gave him the game; he announced, 
apropos of nothing at all, that the Russians 
were the most great-hearted, brave, and re- 
solute people in the world ! 

' Ah, you old flatterer ! ' Sanin thought to 

himself. 

76 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

And he was not so much surprised at Signora 
Roselli's unexpected state of mind, as at the 
way her daughter behaved to him. It was 
not that she avoided him ... on the contrary 
she sat continually a little distance from him, 
listened to what he said, and looked at him ; 
but she absolutely declined to get into conver- 
sation with him, and directly he began talk- 
ing to her, she softly rose from her place, and 
went out for some instants. Then she came in 
again, and again seated herself in some corner, 
and sat without stirring, seeming meditative 
and perplexed . . . perplexed above all. Frau 
Lenore herself noticed at last, that she was not 
as usual, and asked her twice what was the matter. 

' Nothing,' answered Gemma ; * you know I 
am sometimes like this.' 

' That is true,' her mother assented. 

So passed all that long day, neither gaily nor 
drearily — neither cheerfully nor sadly. Had 
Gemma been different — Sanin . . . who knows? 
. . . might not perhaps have been able to resist 
the temptation for a little display — or he might 
simply have succumbed to melancholy at the 
possibility of a separation for ever. . . . But as 
he did not once succeed in getting a word with 
Gemma, he was obliged to confine himself to 
striking minor chords on the piano for a quarter 
of an hour before evening coffee. 
11 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Emil came home late, and to avoid questions 
about Herr Kliiber, beat a hasty retreat. The 
time came for Sanin too to retire. 

He began saying good-bye to Gemma. He 
recollected for some reason Lensky's parting 
from Olga in Onze£-m. 'Re pressed her hand 
warmly, and tried to get a look at her face, 
but she turned a little away and released her 
fingers. 



XX 

It was bright starlight when he came out on 
the steps. What multitudes of stars, big and 
little, yellow, red, blue and white were scattered 
over the sky! They seemed all flashing, 
swarming, twinkling unceasingly. There was 
no moon in the sky, but without it every object 
could be clearly discerned in the half-clear, 
shadowless twilight. Sanin walked down the 
street to the end ... He did not want to go 
home at once ; he felt a desire to wander about 
a little in the fresh air. He turned back and 
had hardly got on a level with the house, where 
was the Rosellis' shop, when one of the windows 
looking out on the street, suddenly creaked and 
opened ; in its square of blackness — there was 
no light in the room — appeared a woman's 
78 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

figure, and he heard his name — 'Monsieur 
Dimitri ! ' 

He rushed at once up to the window . . . 
Gemma ! She was leaning with her elbows on 
the window-sill, bending forward. 

' Monsieur Dimitri,' she began in a cautious 
voice, ' I have been wanting all day long to give 
you something . . . but I could not make up 
my mind to ; and just now, seeing you, quite 
unexpectedly again, I thought that it seems it 
is fated ' . . . 

Gemma was forced to stop at this word. She 
could not go on ; something extraordinary 
happened at that instant. 

All of a sudden, in the midst of the profound 
stillness, over the perfectly unclouded sky, 
there blew such a violent blast of wind, that 
the very earth seemed shaking underfoot, the 
delicate starlight seemed quivering and tremb- 
ling, the air went round in a whirlwind. The 
wind, not cold, but hot, almost sultry, smote 
against the trees, the roof of the house, its walls, 
and the street ; it instantaneously snatched off 
Sanin's hat, crumpled up and tangled Gemma's 
curls. Sanin's head was on a level with the 
window-sill ; he could not help clinging close to 
it, and Gemma clutched hold of his shoulders 
with both hands, and pressed her bosom against 
his head. The roar, the din, and the rattle 
79 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

lasted about a minute, . . . Like a flock of 
huge birds the revelling whirlwind darted re- 
velling away. A profound stillness reigned 
once more. 

Sanin raised his head and saw above him 
such an exquisite, scared, excited face, such 
immense, large, magnificent eyes — it was such 
a beautiful creature he saw, that his heart stood 
still within him, he pressed his lips to the 
delicate tress of hair, that had fallen on his 
bosom, and could only murmur, ' O Gemma ! ' 

' What was that ? Lightning ? ' she asked, 
her eyes wandering afar, while she did not take 
her bare arms from his shoulder. 

' Gemma ! ' repeated Sanin. 

She sighed, looked around behind her into the 
room, and with a rapid movement pulling the 
now faded rose out of her bodice, she threw it 
to Sanin. 

* I wanted to give you this flower.' 

He recognised the rose, which he had won 
back the day before. . . . 

But already the window had slammcd-to, and 
through the dark pane nothing could be seen, 
no trace of white. 

Sanin went home without his hat. . . . He 
did not even notice that he had lost it. 



80 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 



XXI 

It was quite morning when he fell asleep. 
And no wonder! In the blast of that instan- 
taneous summer hurricane, he had almost as 
instantaneously felt, not that Gemma was 
lovely, not that he liked her — that he had known 
before . . . but that he almost . . . loved her! As 
suddenly as that blast of wind, had love pounced 
down upon him. And then this senseless 
dueir ' He began to be tormented by mournful 
forebodings. And even suppose they didn't kill 
him. . . . What could come of his love for this 
girl, another man's betrothed ? Even supposing 
this ' other man ' was no danger, that Gemma 
herself would care for him, or even cared for' 
him already . . . What would come of it? 
How ask what I Such a lovely creature ! . . . 

He walked about the room, sat down to the 
table, took a sheet of paper, traced a few lines 
on it, and at once blotted them out. . . . He 
recalled Gemma's wonderful figure in the dark 
window, in the starlight, set all a-fluttering by 
the warm hurricane ; he remembered her marble 
arms, like the arms of the Olympian goddesses, 
felt their living weight on his shoulders. . . . 
Then he took the rose she had thrown him, and 
it seemed to him that its half-withered petals 
F 8i 



-A' 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

exhaled a fragrance of her, more delicate than 
the ordinary scent of the rose. 

'And would they kill him straight away or 
maim him ? ' 

He did not go to bed, and fell asleep in his 
clothes on the sofa. 

Some one slapped him on the shoulder. . . . 
He opened his eyes, and saw Pantaleone. 

' He sleeps like Alexander of Macedon on 
the eve of the battle of Babylon ! ' cried the old 
man. 

' What o'clock is it ? ' inquired Sanin. 

' A quarter to seven ; it 's a two hours' drive 
to Hanau, and we must be the first on the 
field. Russians are always beforehand with 
their enemies ! I have engaged the best car- 
riage in Frankfort ! ' 

Sanin began washing. ' And where are the 
pistols } ' 

' T\i2X ferroflucto Tedesco will bring the pistols. 
He'll bring a doctor too.' 

Pantaleone was obviously putting a good 
face on it as he had done the day before ; but 
when he was seated in the carriage with Sanin, 
when the coachman had cracked his whip and 
the horses had started off at a gallop, a sudden 
change came over the old singer and friend of 
Paduan dragoons. He began to be confused 
and positively faint-hearted. Something seemed 
82 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

to have given way in him, like a badly built 
wall. 

* What are we doing, my God, Santissima 
Madonna !^ he cried in an unexpectedly high 
pipe, and he clutched at his head. ' What am 
I about, old fool, madman,/r£'«^//Vd7? ' 

Sanin wondered and laughed, and putting 
his arm lightly round Pantaleone's waist, he 
reminded him of the French proverb : ' Le vin 
est tire — il faut le boire! 

* Yes, yes,' answered the old man, ' we will 
drain the cup together to the dregs — but still 
I 'm a madman ! I 'm a madman ! All was 
going on so quietly, so well . . . and all of a 
sudden : ta-ta-ta, tra-ta-ta ! ' 

' Like the tiitti in the orchestra,' observed Sanin 
with a forced smile. ' But it 's not your fault.' 

* I know it 's not. I should think not in- 
deed ! And yet . . . such insolent conduct ! 
Diavoio, diavolol' repeated Pantaleone, sighing 
and shaking his topknot. 

The carriage still rolled on and on. 

It was an exquisite morning. The streets 
of Frankfort, which were just beginning to 
show signs of life, looked so clean and snug ; 
the windows of the houses glittered in flashes 
like tinfoil ; and as soon as the carriage had 
driven beyond the city walls, from overhead, 
from a blue but not yet glaring sky, the larks' 
83 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

loud trills showered down in floods. Suddenly 
at a turn in the road, a familiar figure came 
from behind a tall poplar, took a few steps 
forward and stood still. Sanin looked more 
closely. . . . Heavens ! it was Emil ! 

' But does he know anything about it ? ' he 
demanded of Pantaleone. 

* I tell you I 'm a madman,' the poor Italian 
wailed despairingly, almost in a shriek. ' The 
wretched boy gave me no peace all night, and 
this morning at last I revealed all to him ! ' 

' So much for your segredezza ! ' thought 
Sanin. The carriage had got up to Emil. 
Sanin told the coachman to stop the horses, 
and called the * wretched boy ' up to him. 
Emil approached with hesitating steps, pale 
as he had been on the day he fainted. He 
could scarcely stand. 

*What are you doing here?' Sanin asked 
him sternly. ' Why aren't you at home ? ' 

*Let ... let me come with you,' faltered 
Emil in a trembling voice, and he clasped his 
hands. His teeth were chattering as in a fever. 
* I won't get in your way — only take me.* 

* If you feel the very slightest affection or 
respect for me,' said Sanin, ' you will go at 
once home or to Herr Kluber's shop, and you 
won't say one word to any one, and will wait 
for my return ! ' 

84 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

' Your return,' moaned Emil — and his voice 
quivered and broke, ' but if you 're ' 

' Emil ! ' Sanin interrupted — and he pointed 
to the coachman, * do control yourself! Emil, 
please, go home ! Listen to me, my dear ! 
You say you love me. Well, I beg you ! ' He 
held out his hand to him. Emil bent forward, 
sobbed, pressed it to his lips, and darting away 
from the road, ran back towards Frankfort 
across country. 

' A noble heart too,' muttered Pantaleone ; 
but Sanin glanced severely at him. . . . The 
old man shrank into the corner of the carriage. 
He was conscious of his fault ; and moreover, 
he felt more and more bewildered every instant ; 
could it really be he who was acting as second, 
who had got horses, and had made all arrange- 
ments, and had left his peaceful abode at six 
o'clock? Besides, his legs were stiff and 
aching. 

Sanin thought it as well to cheer him up, 
and he chanced on the very thing, he hit on the 
right word. 

'Where is your old spirit, Signor Cippatola? 
Where is il antico valor} ^ 

SignorCippatola drew himself up and scowled 
*// atttico valor ? ' he boomed in a bass voice. 
* No?i e ancora spento (it 's not all lost yet), il 
afitico valor I ^ 

85 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

He put himself in a dignified attitude, began 

talking of his career, of the opera, of the great 

tenor Garcia — and arrived at Hanau a hero. 

After all, if you think of it, nothing is 

'^s4/^ stronger in the world . . . and weaker — than 

^ a word ! 

XXII 

The copse in which the duel was to take place ' 
was a quarter of a mile from Hanau. Sanin 
and Pantaleone arrived there first, as the latter 
had predicted ; they gave orders for the car- 
riage to remain outside the wood, and they 
plunged into the shade of the rather thick and 
close-growing trees. They had to wait about 
an hour. 

The time of waiting did not seem particu- 
larly disagreeable to Sanin ; he walked up and 
down the path, listened to the birds singing, 
watched the dragonflies in their flight, and 
like the majority of Russians in similar cir- 
cumstances, tried not to think. He only once 
dropped into reflection ; he came across a 
young lime-tree, broken down, in all probability 
by the squall of the previous night. It was 
unmistakably dying ... all the leaves on it 
were dead. * What is It ? an omen ? ' was the 
thought that flashed across his mind ; but he 
86 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

promptly began whistling, leaped over the very 
tree, and paced up and down the path. As 
for Pantaleone, he was grumbling, abusing the 
Germans, sighing and moaning, rubbing first 
his back and then his knees. He even yawned 
from agitation, which gave a very comic ex- 
pression to his tiny shrivelled-up face. Sanin 
could scarcely help laughing when he looked 
at him. 

They heard, at last, the rolling of wheels 
along the soft road. ' It 's they ! ' said Panta- 
leone, and he was on the alert and drew him- 
self up, not without a momentary nervous 
shiver, which he made haste, however, to cover 
with the ejaculation ' B-r-r! ' and the remark that 
the morning was rather fresh. A heavy dew 
drenched the grass and leaves, but the sultry 
heat penetrated even into the wood. 

Both the officers quickly made their appear- 
ance under its arched avenues ; they were ac- 
companied by a little thick-set man, with a 
phlegmatic, almost sleepy, expression of face — 
the army doctor. He carried in one hand an 
earthenware pitcher of water — to be ready for 
any emergency ; a satchel with surgical in- 
struments and bandages hung on his left 
shoulder. It was obvious that he was thor- 
oughly used to such excursions ; they consti- 
tuted one of the sources of his income ; each 
87 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

duel yielded him eight gold crowns — four from 
each of the combatants. Herr von Richter 
carried a case of pistols, Herr von Donhof — 
probably considering it the thing — was swing- 
ing in his hand a little cane. 

* Pantaleone ! ' Sanin whispered to the old 
man; ' if . . . if I 'm killed — anything may 
happen — take out of my side pocket a paper 
— there 's a flower wrapped up in it — and give 
the paper to Signorina Gemma. Do you hear ? 
You promise ? ' 

The old man looked dejectedly at him, and 
nodded his head affirmatively. . . . But God 
knows whether he understood what Sanin was 
asking him to do. 

The combatants and the seconds exchanged 
the customary bows ; the doctor alone did not 
move as much as an eyelash ; he sat down 
yawning on the grass, as much as to say, 
' I 'm not here for expressions of chivalrous 
courtesy.' Herr von Richter proposed to Herr 
* Tshibadola ' that he should select the place ; 
Herr * Tshibadola ' responded, moving his 
tongue with difficulty — ' the wall ' within him 
had completely given way again. ' You act, 
my dear sir ; I will watch. . . . ' 

And Herr von Richter proceeded to act. He 
picked out in the wood close by a very pretty 
clearing all studded with flowers ; he measured 
88 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

out the steps,and marked the two extreme points 
with sticks, which he cut and pointed. He took 
the pistols out of the case, and squatting on his 
heels, he rammed in the bullets ; in short, he 
fussed about and exerted himself to the utmost, 
continually mopping his perspiring brow with a 
white handkerchief. Pantaleone, who accom- 
panied him, was more like a man frozen. During 
all these preparations, the two principals stood 
at a little distance, looking like two schoolboys 
who have been punished, and are sulky with 
their tutors. 

The decisive moment arrived. ... * Each 
took his pistol. . . .' 

But at this point Herr von Richter observed 
to Pantaleone that it was his duty, as the senior 
second, according to the rules of the duel, to 
address a final word of advice and exhortation 
to be reconciled to the combatants, before 
uttering the fatal ' one ! two ! three ! ' ; that 
although this exhortation had no effect of any 
sort and was, as a rule, nothing but an empty 
formality, still, by the performance of this 
formality, Herr Cippatola would be rid of a 
certain share of responsibility ; that, properly 
speaking, such an admonition formed the direct 
duty of the so-called ' impartial witness ' {uii- 
partheiischer Zeiige), but since they had no 
such person present, he, Herr von Richter, 
89 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Would readily yield this privilege to his hon- 
oured colleague. Pantaleone, who had already 
succeeded in obliterating himself behind a bush, 
so as not to see the offending officer at all, at 
first made out nothing at all of Herr von 
Richter's speech, especially, as it had been 
delivered through the nose, but all of a sudden 
he started, stepped hurriedly forward, and con- 
vulsively thumping at his chest, in a hoarse 
voice wailed out in his mixed jargon \ ' A ia 
la la . . . Che bestialita ! Deux zeun oinines 
coninie ga que si battono — percJie ? Che diavolo ? 
Andata a casa ! ' 

' I will not consent to a reconciliation,' Sanin 
intervened hurriedly. 

* And I too will not,' his opponent repeated 
alter him. 

' Well, then shout one, two, three ! ' von 
Richter said, addressing the distracted Panta- 
leone. 

The latter promptly ducked behind the bush 
again, and from there, all huddled together, his 
eyes screwed up, and his head turned away, he 
shouted at the top of his voice: 'l]7ia . . . 
due . . . Ire /' 

The first shot was Sanin's, and he missed. 
His bullet went ping against a tree. Baron 
von Donhof shot directly after him — inten- 
tionally, to one side, into the air. 
90 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

A constrained silence followed. . . . No one 
moved. Pantaleone uttered a faint moan. 
' Is it your wish to go on ? ' said Donhof. 

* Why did you shoot in the air ? ' inquired 
Sanin. 

' That 's nothing to do with you.' 

* Will you shoot in the air the second time ? ' 
Sanin asked again. 

' Possibly : I don't know.' 

'Excuse me, excuse me, gentlemen . . .' 
began von Richter ; ' duellists have not the 
right to talk together. That 's out of order.' 

' I decline my shot,' said Sanin, and he threw 
his pistol on the ground. 

' And I too do not intend to go on with the 
duel,' cried Donhof, and he too threw his pistol 
on the ground. ' And more than that, I am 
prepared to own that I was in the wrong — the 
day before yesterday.' 

He moved uneasily, and hesitatingly held 
out his hand. Sanin went rapidly up to him 
and shook it. Both the young men looked at 
each other with a smile, and both their faces 
flushed crimson. 

^Bravi! bravi!' Pantaleone roared suddenly 
as if he had gone mad, and clapping his hands, 
he rushed like a whirlwind from behind the 
bush ; while the doctor, who had been sitting 
on one side on a felled tree, promptly rose, 
9^ 



nff*'^ doc 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

poured the water out of the jug and walked 
off with a lazy, rolling step out of the wood. 

'Honour is satisfied, and the duel is over!' 
von Richter announced. 

^Fuori!^ Pantaleone boomed once more, 
through old associations. 

When he had exchanged bows with the 
officers, and taken his seat in the carriage, 
Sanin certainly felt all over him, if not a sense 
of pleasure, at least a certain lightness of heart, 
as after an operation is over ; but there was 
another feeling astir within him too, a feeling 
akin to shame. . . . The duel, in which he had 
just played his part, struck him as something, 
false, a got-up formality, a common officers' 
students' farce. He recalled the phlegmatic 
doctor, he recalled how he had grinned, that 
is, wrinkled up his nose,when he saw him coming 
out of the wood almost arm-in-arm with Baron 
Donhof. And afterwards when Pantaleone had 
paid him the four crowns due to him . . . Ah ! 
there was something nasty about it ! 

Yes, Sanin was a little conscience-smitten 
and ashamed . . . though, on the other hand, 
what was there for him to have done ? Could 
he have left the young officer's insolence un- 
rebuked ? could he have behaved like Herr 
Kliiber ? He had stood up for Gemma, he 
92 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

had championed her . . . that was so ; and 
yet, there was an uneasy pang in his heartl 
and he was conscience - smitten, and even 
ashamed. 

Not so Pantaleone — he was simply in his 
glory ! He was suddenly possessed by a feel- 
ing of pride. A victorious general, returning 
from the field of battle he has won, could not 
have looked about him with greater self-satis- 
faction. Sanin's demeanour during the duel 
filled him with enthusiasm. He called him 
a hero, and would not listen to his exhortations 
and even his entreaties. He compared him to 
a monument of marble or of bronze, with the 
statue of the commander in Don Juan ! For 
himself he admitted he had been conscious 
of some perturbation of mind, 'but, of course, I 
am an artist,' he observed ; * I have a highly- 
strung nature, while you are the son of the 
snows and the granite rocks.' 

Sanin was positively at a loss how to quiet 
the jubilant artist. 

Almost at the same place in the road where 
two hours before they had come upon Emil, he 
again jumped out from behind a tree, and, with 
a cry of joy upon his lips, waving his cap and 
leaping into the air, he rushed straight at the 
carriage, almost fell under the wheel, and, with- 
93 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

out waiting for the horses to stop, clambered 
up over the carriage-door and fairly clung to 
Sanin. 

' You are alive, you are not wounded ! ' he 
kept repeating. * Forgive me, I did not obey 
you, I did not go back to Frankfort ... I 
could not ! I waited for you here . . . Tell 
me how was it ? You . . . killed him ? ' 

Sanin with some difficulty pacified Emil and 
made him sit down. 

With great verbosity, with evident pleasure, 
Pantaleone communicated to him all the details 
of the duel, and, of course, did not omit to refer 
again to the monument of bronze and the statue 
of the commander. He even rose from his seat 
and, standing with his feet wide apart to pre- 
serve his equilibrium, folding his arm on his 
chest and looking contemptuously over his 
shoulder, gave an ocular representation of the 
commander — Sanin ! Emil listened with awe, 
occasionally interrupting the narrative with an 
exclamation, or swiftly getting up and as swiftly 
kissing his heroic friend. 

The carriage wheels rumbled over the paved 
roads of Frankfort, and stopped at last before 
the hotel where Sanin was living. 

Escorted by his two companions, he went up 
the stairs, when suddenly a woman came with 
hurried steps out of the dark corridor ; her face 
94 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

was hidden by a veil, she stood still, facing 
Sanin, wavered a little, gave a trembling sigh, 
at once ran down into the street and vanished, 
to the great astonishment of the waiter, who 
explained that ' that lady had been for over 
an hour waiting for the return of the foreign 
gentleman.' Momentary as was the appari- 
tion, Sanin recognised Gemma. He recognised 
her eyes under the thick silk of her brown 
veil. 

' Did Fraulein Gemma know, then .^ ' . . . he 
said slowly in a displeased voice in German, 
addressing Emil and Pantaleone, who were 
following close on his heels. 

Emil blushed and was confused. 

' I was obliged to tell her all,' he faltered ; 
' she guessed, and I could not help it. , . . But 
now that's of no consequence,' he hurried 
to add eagerly, ' everything has ended so 
splendidly, and she has seen you well and 
uninjured 1 ' 

Sanin turned away. 

* What a couple of chatterboxes you are ! ' he 
observed in a tone of annoyance, as he went 
into his room and sat down on a chair. 

'Don't be angry, please,' Emil implored. 

'Very well, I won't be angry' — (Sanin was 
not, in fact, angry — and, after all, he could 
hardly have desired that Gemma should know 
95 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

nothing about it). 'Very well . . . that's 
enough embracing. You get along now. I 
want to be alone. I 'm going to sleep. I 'm 
tired.' 

'An excellent idea!' cried Pantaleone. 'You 
need repose ! You have fully earned it, noble 
signor ! Come along, Emilio ! On tip-toe ! 
On tip-toe ! Sh— sh— sh ! ' 

When he said he wanted to go to sleep, Sanin 
had simply wished to get rid of his companions ; 
but when he was left alone, he was really aware 
of considerable weariness in all his limbs ; he 
had hardly closed his eyes all the preceding 
night, and throwing himself on his bed he fell 
immediately into a sound sleep. 



XXIII 

He slept for some hours without waking. Then 
he began to dream that he was once more fight- 
ing a duel, that the antagonist standing facing 
him was Herr Kliibcr, and on a fir-tree was 
sitting a parrot, and this parrot was Pantaleone, 
and he kept tapping with his beak : one, one, 
one ! 

' One . . . one . . . one ! ' he heard the tap- 
ping too distinctly ; he opened his eyes, raised 
96 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING n- - 

his head . . . some one was knocking at his 
door. 

' Come in ! ' called Sanin. 

The waiter came in and answered that a lady 
very particularly wished to see him. 

* Gemma ! ' flashed into his head . . . but 
the lady turned out to be her mother, Frau 
Lenore. 

Directly she came in, she dropped at once 
into a chair and began to cry. 

' What is the matter, my dear, good Madame 
Roselli ? ' began Sanin, sitting beside her and 
softly touching her hand. * What has hap- 
pened ? calm yourself, I entreat you,' 

' Ah, Herr Dimitri, I am very . . . very 
miserable ! ' 

' You are miserable ? ' 

' Ah, very ! Could I have foreseen such a 
thing ? All of a sudden, like thunder from 
a clear sky . . .' 

She caught her breath. 

'But what is it? Explain! Would you like 
a glass of water ? ' 

' No, thank you.' Frau Lenore wiped her 
eyes with her handkerchief and began to cry 
with renewed energy. ' I know all, you see ! 
All!' 

* All ? that is to say ? ' 

* Everything that took place to-day ! And 
G 97 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

the cause ... I know that too ! You acted 
like an honourable man; but what an unfor- 
tunate combination of circumstances ! I was 
quite right in not liking that excursion to 
Soden . . . quite right ! ' (Frau Lenore had 
said nothing of the sort on the day of the 
excursion, but she was convinced now that she 
had foreseen * all ' even then.) ' I have come 
to you as to an honourable man, as to a friend, 
though I only saw you for the first time five 
days ago. . . . But you know I am a widow, a 
lonely woman. . . . My daughter . . .' 

Tears choked Frau Lenore's voice. Sanin 
did not know what to think. * Your daughter ? ' 
he repeated. 

' My daughter. Gemma,' broke almost with a 
groan from Frau Lenore, behind the tear-soaked 
handkerchief, ' informed me to-day that she 
would not marry Herr Kliiber, and that I must 
refuse him ! ' 

Sanin positively started back a little ; he had 
not expected that. 

* I won't say anything now,' Frau Lenore 
went on, * of the disgrace of it, of its being some- 
thing unheard of in the world for a girl to jilt her 
betrothed; but you see it's ruin for us, Ilerr 
Dimitri ! ' Frau Lenore slowly and carefully 
twisted up her handkerchief in a tiny, tiny little 
ball, as though she would enclose all her grief 
98 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

within it. ' We can't go on living on the takings 
of our shop, Herr Dimitri ! and Herr Kliiber is 
very rich, and will be richer still. And what 
is he to be refused for? Because he did not 
defend his betrothed ? Allowing that was not 
very handsome on his part, still, he's a civilian, 
has not had a university education, and as a 
solid business man, it was for him to look with 
contempt on the frivolous prank of some un- 
known little officer. And what sort of insult 
was it, after all, Herr Dimitri ? ' 

' Excuse me, Frau Lenore, you seem to be 
blaming me.' 

* I am not blaming you in the least, not in 
the least ! You 're quite another matter ; you 
are, like all Russians, a military man . . .' 

* Excuse me, I 'm not at all . . .' 

* You 're a foreigner, a visitor, and I 'm grate- 
ful to you,' Frau Lenore went on, not heeding 
Sanin. She sighed, waved her hands, unwound 
her handkerchief again, and blew her nose. 
Simply from the way in which her distress 
expressed itself, it could be seen that she had 
not been born under a northern sky. 

'And how is Herr Kliiber to look after his 
shop, if he is to fight with his customers ? It 's 
utterly inconsistent ! And now I am to send 
him away ! But what are we going to live on ? 
At one time we were the only people that made 
99 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

angel cakes, and nougat of pistachio nuts, and we 
had plenty of customers ; but now all the shops 
make angel cakes ! Only consider ; even with- 
out this, they '11 talk in the town about your 
duel ... it's impossible to keep it secret. 
And all of a sudden, the marriage broken off! 
It will be a scandal, a scandal ! Gemma is a 
splendid girl, she loves me ; but she 's an 
obstinate republican, she doesn't care for the 
opinion of others. You 're the only person 
that can persuade her ! ' 

Sanin was more amazed than ever. * I, Frau 
/ Lenore ? ' 

; ' Yes, you alone . . . you alone. That 's why 

I I I have come to you ; I could not think of any- 

*^ \ thing else to do ! You are so clever, so good ! 

'\ You have fought in her defence. She will trust 

^ . you ! She is bound to trust you — why, you 

Js^ Uiave risked your life on her account ! You 

'I Will make her understand, for I can do nothing 

more ; you make her understand that she will 

bring ruin on herself and all of us. You saved 

my son — save my daughter too ! God Himself 

sent you here ... I am ready on my knees to 

beseech you. . . .' And Frau Lenore half rose 

from her seat as though about to fall at Sanin's 

feet. . . . He restrained her. 

' Frau Lenore ! For mercy's sake ! What 
are you doing?' 

lOO 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

She clutched his hand impulsively. 'You 
promise . . .' 

' Frau Lenore, think a moment ; what right 
have I . . .' 

' You promise ? You don't want me to die 
here at once before your eyes ? ' 

Sanin was utterly nonplussed. It was the 
first time in his life he had had Jo, deal with 
any one of ardent Tfalian- blood. 

' I will do whatever you like,' he cried. ' I 
will talk to Fraulein Gemma. . . .' 

Frau Lenore uttered a cry of delight. 

' Only I really can't say what result will come 
of it . . .' 

' Ah, don't go back, don't go back from your 
words ! ' cried Frau Lenore in an imploring 
voice ; * you have already consented ! The 
result is certain to be excellent. Any, way, / 
can do nothing more ! She won't listen to 
me \ ' 

' Has she so positively stated her disinclina- 
tion to marry Herr Kluber ? ' Sanin inquired 
after a short silence. 

' As if she 'd cut the knot with a knife ! 
She's her father all over, Giovanni Battista ! 
Wilful girl ! ' 

'Wilful? Is she!' . . . Sanin said slowly. 

' Yes . . . yes . . . but she 's an angel too. 
She will mind you. Are you coming soon? 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Oh, my dear Russian friend ! ' Frau Lenore rose 
impulsively from her chair, and as impulsively 
clasped the head of Sanin, who was sitting 
opposite her. * Accept a mother's blessing — 
and give me some water ! ' 

Sanin brought Signora Roselli a glass of 
water, gave her his word of honour that he 
would come directly, escorted her down the 
stairs to the street, and when he was back in 
his own room, positively threw up his arms and 
opened his eyes wide in his amazement. 

'Well,' he thought, 'well, 7iow life is going 
round in a whirl ! And it 's whirling so that 
I 'm giddy.' He did not attempt to look 
within, to realise what was going on in himself: 
it was all uproar and confusion, and that was 
all he knew ! What a day it had been ! His 
lips murmured unconsciously: 'Wilful . . . her 
mother says . . . and I have got to advise her 
. . . her ! And advise her what ? ' 

Sanin, really, was giddy, and above all this 
whirl of shifting sensations and impressions 
and unfinished thoughts, there floated con- 
tinually the image of Gemma, the image so 
ineffaccably impressed on his memory on that 
hot night, quivering with electricity, in that 
dark window, in the light of the swarming 
stars ! 



102 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 



XXIV 

With hesitating footsteps Sanin approached 
the house of Signora Roselh'. His heart was 
beating violently ; he distinctly felt, and even 
heard it thumping at his side. What should 
he say to Gemma, how should he begin ? He 
went into the house, not through the shop, but 
by the back entrance. In the little outer room 
he met Frau Lenore. She was both relieved 
and scared at the sight of him. 

' I have been expecting you,' she said in a 
whisper, squeezing his hand with each of hers 
in turn. ' Go into the garden ; she is there. 
Mind, I rely on you ! ' 

Sanin went into the garden. 

Gemma was sitting on a garden-seat near the 
path, she was sorting a big basket full of 
cherries, picking out the ripest, and putting 
them on a dish. The sun was low — it was 
seven o'clock in the evening — and there was 
more purple than gold in the full slanting light 
with which it flooded the whole of Signora 
Roselli's little garden. From time to time, 
faintly audibly, and as it were deliberately, the 
leaves rustled, and belated bees buzzed abruptly 
as they flew from one flower to the next, and 
103 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

somewhere a dove was cooing a never-changing, 
unceasing note. Gemma had on the same 
round hat in which she had driven to Soden. 
She peeped at Sanin from under its turned- 
down brim, and again bent over the basket. 

Sanin went up to Gemma, unconsciously- 
making each step shorter, and . . . and . . . 
and nothing better could he find to say to her 
than to ask why was she sorting the cherries. 

Gemma was in no haste to reply. 

' These are riper,' she observed at last, ' they 
will go into jam, and those are for tarts. You 
know the round sweet tarts we sell ? ' 

As she said those words, Gemma bent her 
head still lower, and her right hand with two 
cherries in her fingers was suspended in the air 
between the basket and the dish, 

* May I sit by you ? ' asked Sanin. 

' Yes.' Gemma moved a little along on the 
seat. Sanin placed himself beside her. * How 
am I to begin ? ' was his thought. But Gemma 
got him out of his difficulty. 

*You have fought a duel to-day,' she began 
eagerly, and she turned all her lovely, bash- 
fully flushing face to him — and what depths of 
gratitude were shining in those eyes ! * And 
you are so calm ! I suppose for you danger 
does not exist ? ' 

* Oh, come ! I have not been exposed to 

104 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

any danger. Everything went off very satis- 
factorily and inoffensively.' 

Gemma passed her finger to right and to left 
before her eyes. . . . Also an Italian gesture. 
* No ! no ! don't say that ! You won't deceive 
me ! Pantaleone has told me everything ! ' 

' He 's a trustworthy witness ! Did he com- 
pare me to the statue of the commander? ' 

' His expressions may be ridiculous, but his 
feeling is not ridiculous, nor is what you have 
done to-day. And all that on my account . . . 
for me ... I shall never forget it.' 

* I assure you, Fraulein Gemma . . .' 

* I shall never forget it,' she said deliberately ; 
once more she looked intently at him, and 
turned away. 

He could now see her delicate pure profile, 
and it seemed to him that he had never seen 
anything like it, and had never known any- 
thing like what he was feeling at that instant. 
His soul was on fire. 

* And my promise ! ' flashed in among his 
thoughts. 

' Fraulein Gemma . . . ' he began after a 
momentary hesitation. 

' What ? ' 

She did not turn to him, she went on sorting 
the cherries, carefully taking them by their 
stalks with her finger-tips, assiduously picking 
105 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

out the leaves. . . . But what a confiding 
caress could be heard in that one word, 
'What?' 

* Has your mother said nothing to you 
. . . about . . .' 

'About?' 

* About me?' 

Gemma suddenly flung back into the basket 
the cherries she had taken. 

' Has she been talking to you ? ' she asked in 
her turn. 

' Yes.' 

* What has she been saying to you ? ' 

'She told me that you . . . that you have 
suddenly decided to change . . . your former 
intention.' Gemma's head was bent again. 
She vanished altogether under her hat ; nothing 
could be seen but her neck, supple and tender 
as the stalk of a big flower. 

'What intentions? ' 

'Your intentions . . . relative to . . . the 
future arrangement of your life.' 

' That is . . . you are speaking ... of Herr 
Kluber?' 

'Yes.' 

' Mamma told you I don't want to be Herr 
Kliiber's wife ? ' 

'Yes.' 

Gemma moved forward on the seat. The 
1 06 



THE TORRENTS OF SP UNG 

basket tottered, fell ... a few cherries rolled on 
to the path. A minute passed by . . . another. 

* Why did she tell you so ? ' he heard her 
voice saying. Sanin as before could only see 
Gemma's neck. Her bosom rose and fell more 
rapidly than before. 

* Why ? Your mother thought that as you 
and I, in a short time, have become, so to say, 
friends, and you have some confidence in me, 
I am in a position to give you good advice — 
and you would mind what I say.' 

Gemma's hands slowly slid on to her knees. 
She began plucking at the folds of her dress. 

'What advice will you give me, Monsieur 
Dimitri ? ' she asked, after a short pause. 

Sanin saw that Gemma's fingers were 
trembling on her knees. . . . She was only 
plucking at the folds of her dress to hide their 
trembling. He softly laid his hand on those 
pale, shaking fingers. 

' Gemma,' he said, ' why don't you look at 
me?' She instantly tossed her hat back on to 
her shoulder, and bent her eyes upon him, con- 
fiding and grateful as before. She waited for 
him to speak. . . . But the sight of her face 
had bewildered, and, as it were, dazed him. The 
warm glow of the evening sun lighted up her 
youthful head, and the expression of that head 
was brighter, more radiant than its glow. 
107 



THEi TORRENTS OF SPRING 

' I will mind what you say, Monsieur 
Dimitri,' she said, faintly smiling, and faintly 
arching her brows ; ' but what advice do you 
give me ? ' 

' What advice ? ' repeated Sanin. * Well, you 
see, your mother considers that to dismiss 
Herr Kliiber simply because he did not show 
any special courage the day before yester- 
day . . .' 

'Simply because?' said Gemma. She bent 
down, picked up the basket, and set it beside 
her on the garden seat. 

* That . . . altogether ... to dismiss him, 
would be, on your part . . . unreasonable ; 
that it is a step, all the consequences of 
which ought to be thoroughly weighed ; that 
in fact the very position of your affairs imposes 
,. certain obligations on every member of your 
/ family . . .* 

/ ' All that is mamma's opinion,' Gemma inter- 
\ posed ; * those are her words ; but what is your 
\ppinion ? ' 

■ ' Mine ? ' Sanin was silent for a while. He 
felt a lump rising in his throat and catching at 
his breath. ' I too consider,' he began with an 
effort . . . 

Gemma drew herself up. ' Too ? You too ? ' 
'Yes . . . that is . . .' Sanin was unable, 
positively unable to add a single word more. 
io8 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

'Very well,' said Gemma. 'If you, as a 
friend, advise me to change my decision — 
that is, not to change my former decision — I 
will think it over.' Not knowing what she was 
doing, she began to tip the cherries back from 
the plate into the basket. . . . ' Mamma hopes 
that I will mind what you say. Well . . . 
perhaps I really will mind what you say.' 

' But excuse me, Fraulein Gemma, I should 
like first to know what reason impelled 
you . . .' 

* I will mind what you say,' Gemma repeated, 
her face right up to her brows was working, her 
cheeks were white, she was biting her lower 
lip. 'You have done so much for me, that I 
am bound to do as you wish ; bound to carry 
out your wishes. I will tell mamma ... I will 
think again. Here she is, by the way, coming 
here.' 

Frau Lenore did in fact appear in the door- 
way leading from the house to the garden. 
She was in an agony of impatience ; she could 
not keep still. According to her calculations, 
Sanin must long ago have finished all he had 
to say to Gemma, though his conversation with 
her had not lasted a quarter of an hour. 

' No, no, no, for God's sake, don't tell her 
anything yet,' Sanin articulated hurriedly, 
almost in alarm. ' Wait a little ... I will tell 
109 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

you, 1 will write to you . . . and till then 
don't decide on anything . . . wait ! ' 

He pressed Gemma's hand, jumped up 
from the seat, and to Frau Lenore's great 
amazement, rushed past her, and raising his 
hat, muttered something unintelligible — and 
vanished. 

She went up to her daughter. 

' Tell me, please. Gemma . . .' 

The latter suddenly got up and hugged her. 
... ' Dear mamma, can you wait a little, a 
tiny bit . . . till to-morrow ? Can you ^ And 
till to-morrow not a word ? . . . Ah ! . . .' 

She burst into sudden happy tears, incompre- 
hensible to herself. This surprised Frau Lenore, 
the more as the expression of Gemma's face 
was far from sorrowful, — rather joyful in fact. 

' What is it ? ' she asked. ' You never cry 
. . . and here, all at once . . .' 

* Nothing, mamma, never mind! you only 
wait. We must both wait a little. Don't ask 
me anything till to-morrow — and let us sort 
the cherries before the sun has set' 

'But you will be reasonable?' 

' Oh, I 'm very reasonable ! ' Gemma shook 
her head significantly. She began to make up 
little bunches of cherries, holding them high 
above her flushed face. She did not wipe 
away her tears ; they had dried of themselves, 
no • 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 



XXV 

Almost running, Sanin returned to his hotel 
room. He felt, he knew that only there, only 
by himself, would it be clear to him at last 
what was the matter, what was happening to 
him. And so it was ; directly he had got in- 
side his room, directly he had sat down to the 
writing-table, with both elbows on the table 
and both hands pressed to his face, he cried 
in a sad and choked voice, ' I love her, love 
her madly ! ' and he was all aglow within, 
like a fire when a thick layer of dead ash has 
been suddenly blown off. An instant more 
. . . and he was utterly unable to understand 
how he could have sat beside her . . . her ! — 
and talked to her and not have felt that he 
worshipped the very hem of her garment, that 
he was ready as young people express it ' to 
die at her feet.' The last interview in the 
garden had decided everything. Now when 
he thought of her, she did not appear to him 
with blazing curls in the shining starlight ; 
he saw her sitting on the garden-seat, saw her 
all at once tossing back her hat, and gazing 
at him so confidingly . . . and the tremor 
and hunger of love ran through all his 
III 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

veins. He remembered the rose which he had 
been carrying about in his pocket for three 
days : he snatched it out, and pressed it with 
such feverish violence to his lips, that he could 
not help frowning with the pain. Now he 
considered nothing, reflected on nothing, did 
not deliberate, and did not look forward ; he 
had done with all his past, he leaped forward 
into the future ; from the dreary bank of his 
lonely bachelor life he plunged headlong into 
that glad, seething, mighty torrent — and little 
he cared, little he wished to know, where it 
would carry him, or whether it would dash him 
against a rock ! No more the soft-flowing 
currents of the Uhland song, which had lulled 
him not long ago. . . . These were mighty, 
irresistible torrents ! They rush flying on- 
wards — and he flies with them. . . . 

He took a sheet of paper, and without 
blotting out a word, almost with one sweep of 
the pen, wrote as follows : — 

' Dear Gemma, — You know what advice I 
undertook to give you, what your mother 
desired, and what she asked of me ; but what 
you don't know and what I must tell you now 
is, that I love you, love you with all the 
ardour of a heart that loves for the first time ! 
This passion has flamed up in me suddenly, 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

but with such force that I can find no words 
for it ! When your mother came to me and 
asked me, it was still only smouldering in me, 
or else I should certainly, as an honest man, 
have refused to carry out her request. . . . The 
confession I make you now is the confession 
of an honest man. You ought to know whom 
you have to do with — between us there should 
exist no misunderstandings. You see that I 
cannot give you any advice. ... I love you, 
love you, love you — and I have nothing else — 
either in my head or in my heart ! ! 

' Dm. Sanin.' 

When he had folded and sealed this note, 
Sanin was on the point of ringing for the 
waiter and sending it by him ... * No ! ' he 
thought, *it would be awkward. . . . By Emil? 
But to go to the shop, and seek him out there 
among the other employes, would be awkward 
too. Besides, it's dark by now, and he has 
probably left the shop.' Reflecting after this 
fashion, Sanin put on his hat, however, and 
went into the street ; he turned a corner, an- 
other, and to his unspeakable delight, saw 
Emil before him. With a satchel under his 
arm, and a roll of papers in his hand, the young 
enthusiast was hurrying home. 
H 113 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* They may well say every lover has a lucky 
star/ thought Sanin, and he called to Emil. 

The latter turned and at once rushed to him. 

Sanin cut short his transports, handed him 
the note, and explained to whom and how he 
was to deliver it. . . . Emil listened attentively. 

' So that no one sees? 'he inquired, assum- 
ing an important and mysterious air, that 
said, ' We understand the inner meaning of it 
all!' 

* Yes, my friend,' said Sanin and he was a 
little disconcerted ; however, he patted Emil 
on the cheek. . . . 'And if there should be an 
answer. . . . You will bring me the answer, 
won't you ? I will stay at home.' 

* Don't worry yourself about that ! ' Emil 
whispered gaily ; he ran off, and as he ran 
nodded once more to him. 

Sanin went back home, and without light- 
ing a candle, flung himself on the sofa, put his 
hands behind his head, and abandoned himself 
to those sensations of newly conscious love, 
which it is no good even to describe. One 
who has felt them knows their languor and 
sweetness ; to one who has felt them not, one 
could never make them known. 

The door opened — Emil's head appeared. 

' I have brought it,' he said in a whisper : 
* here it is — the answer ! ' 
114 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

He showed and waved above his head a 
folded sheet of paper. 

Sanin leaped up from the sofa and snatched 
it out of Emil's hand. Passion was working 
too powerfully within him : he had no thought 
of reserve now, nor of the observance of a suit- 
able demeanour — even before this boy, her 
brother. He would have been scrupulous, he 
would have controlled himself — if he could ! 
. He went to the window, and by the light of 
a street lamp which stood just opposite the 
house, he read the following lines : — 

* I beg you, I beseech you — don't come to see 
us^ don't show yourself all day to-morrow. It's 
necessary, absolutely necessary for me, and 
then everything shall be settled. I know you 
will not say no, because . . . 

' Gemma.' 

SanIn read this note twice through. Oh, how 
touchingly sweet and beautiful her handwriting 
seemed to him ! He thought a little, and turn- 
ing to Emil, who, wishing to give him to under- 
stand what a discreet young person he was, 
was standing with his face to the wall, and 
scratching on it with his finger-nails, he called 
him aloud by name. 

Emin ran at once to Sanin. * What do you 
want me to do ? ' 

115 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* Listen, my young friend . . .' 

* Monsieur Dimitri,' Emil interrupted in a 
plaintive voice, 'why do you address me so 
formally ? ' 

Sanin laughed. * Oh, very well. Listen, 
my dearest boy — (Emil gave a little skip of 
delight) — listen ; there you understand, there, 
you will say, that everything shall be done 
exactly as is wished — (Emil compressed his 
lips and nodded solemnly) — and as for me . . . 
what are you doing to-morrow, my dear boy ? ' 

' I ? what am I doing ? What would you 
like me to do ? ' 

* If you can, come to me early in the morning 
— and we will walk about the country round 
Frankfort till evening. . . . Would you like 
to.?' 

Emil gave another little skip. ' I say, what 
in the world could be jollier ? Go a walk with 
you — why, it 's simply glorious ! I '11 be sure 
to come ! ' 

* And if they won 't let you } ' 
' They will let me ! ' 

* Listen . . . Don't say t/iere that I asked you 
to come for the whole day.' 

* Why should I ? But I '11 get away all the 
same ! What does it matter ? ' 

Emil warmly kissed Sanin, and ran away. 
Sanin walked up and down the room a long 
ii6 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

while, and went late to bed. He gave himself 
up to the same delicate and sweet sensations, 
the same joyous thrill at facing a new life. 
Sanin was very glad that the idea had occurred 
to him to invite Emil to spend the next day 
with him ; he was like his sister. ' He will 
recall her,' was his thought. 

But most of all, he marvelled how he could 
have been yesterday other than he was to-day. 
It seemed to him that he had loved Gemma 
for all time ; and that he had loved her just 
as he loved her to-day. 



XXVI 

At eight o'clock next morning, Emil arrived 
at Sanin's hotel leading Tartaglia by a string. 
Had he sprung of German parentage, he could 
not^have shown. greater practicality. He had 
told a lie at home ; he had said he was going 
for a walk with Sanin till lunch-time, and then 
going to the shop. While Sanin was dressing, 
Emil began to talk to him, rather hesitatingly, 
it is true, about Gemma, about her rupture with 
Herr KlUber ; but Sanin preserved an austere 
silence in reply, and Emil, looking as though 
he understood why so serious a matter should 
not be touched on lightly, did not return to the 
117 



\ 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

subject, and only assumed from time to time an 
intense and even severe expression. 

After drinking coffee, the two friends set off 
together — on foot, of course — to Hansen, a 
little village lying a short distance from Frank- 
fort, and surrounded by woods. The whole 
chain of the Taunus mountains could be seen 
clearly from there. The weather was lovely ; 
the sunshine was bright and warm, but not 
blazing hot ; a fresh wind rustled briskly 
among the green leaves ; the shadows of high, 
round clouds glided swiftly and smoothly in 
small patches over the earth. The two young 
people soon got out of the town, and stepped 
out boldly and gaily along the well-kept road. 
They reached the woods, and wandered about 
there a long time ; then they lunched very 
heartily at a country inn ; then climbed on to 
the mountains, admired the views, rolled stones 
down and clapped their hands, watching the 
queer droll way in which the stones hopped 
along like rabbits, till a man passing below, un- 
seen by them, began abusing them in a loud 
ringing voice. Then they lay full length on the 
short dry moss of yellowish-violet colour ; then 
they drank beer at another inn ; ran races, and 
tried for a wager which could jump farthest. 
They discovered an echo, and began to call to 
it ; sang songs, hallooed, wrestled, broke up dry 
ii8 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

twigs, decked their hats with fern, and even 
danced. Tartaglia, as far as he could, shared 
in all these pastimes ; he did not throw stones, 
it is true, but he rolled head over heels after 
them ; he howled when they were singing, and 
even drank beer, though with evident aversion ; 
he had been trained in this art by a student to 
whom he had once belonged. But he was not 
prompt in obeying Emil — not as he was with 
his master Pantaleone — and when Emil ordered 
him to * speak,' or to ' sneeze,' he only wagged 
his tail and thrust out his tongue like a pipe. 

The young people talked, too. At the 
beginning of the walk, Sanin, as the elder, and 
so more reflective, turned the conversation on 
fate and predestination, and the nature and 
meaning of man's destiny ; but the conversation 
quickly took a less serious turn. Emil began 
to question his friend and patron about Russia, 
how duels were fought there, and whether the 
women there were beautiful, and whether one 
could learn Russian quickly, and what he had 
felt when the officer took aim at him. Sanin, 
on his side, questioned Emil about his father, 
his mother, and in general about their family 
affairs, trying every time not to mention 
Gemma's name — and thinking only of her. To 
speak more precisely, it was not of her he was 
thinking, but of the morrow, the mysterious 
119 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

morrow which was to bring him new, unknown 
happiness ! It was as though a veil, a deHcate, 
bright veil, hung faintly fluttering before his 
mental vision ; and behind this veil he felt . . . 
felt the presence of a youthful, motionless. 
divine image, with a tender smile on its lips, 
and eyelids severely — with affected severity — 
downcast. And this image was not the face of 
Gemma, it was the face of happiness itself! 
For, behold, at last his hour had come, the veil 
had vanished, the lips were parting, the eye- 
lashes are raised — his divinity has looked upon 
him — and at once light as from the sun, and 
joy and bliss unending ! He dreamed of this 
morrow — and his soul thrilled with joy again 
in the melting torture of ever-growing expecta- 
tion ! 

And this expectation, this torture, hindered 
nothing. It accompanied every action, and 
did not prevent anything. It did not prevent 
him from dining capitally at a third inn with 
Emil ; and only occasionally, like a brief flash 
of lightning, the thought shot across him, 
What if any one in the world knew? This 
suspense did not prevent him from playing 
leap-frog with Emil after dinner. The game 
took place on an open green lawn. And the 
confusion, the stupefaction of Sanin may be 
imagined ! At the very moment when, accom- 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING V., 

panicd by a sharp bark from Tartaglia, he was 
flying like a bird, with his legs outspread over 
Emil, who was bent double, he suddenly saw 
on the farthest border of the lawn two officers, 
in whom he recognised at once his adversary 
and his second, Herr von Donhof and Herr von 
Richter ! Each of them had stuck an eyeglass 
in his eye, and was staring at him, chuckling ! 
. . . Sanin got on his feet, turned away 
hurriedly, put on the coat he had flung down, 
jerked out a word to Emil ; the latter, too, put 
on his jacket, and they both immediately made 
off. 

It was late when they got back to Frankfort. 
'They'll scold me,' Emil said to Sanin as he 
said good-bye to him. ' Well, what does it 
matter? I've had such a splendid, splendid 
day ! ' 

When he got home to his hotel, Sanin found 
a note there from Gemma. She fixed a meeting 
with him for next day, at seven o'clock in the 
morning, in one of the public gardens which 
surround Frankfort on all sides. 

How his heart throbbed ! How glad he was 
that he had obeyed her so unconditionally ! 
And, my God, what was promised . . . what 
was not promised, by that unknown, unique, 
impossible, and undubitably certain morrow ! 

He feasted his eyes on Gemma's note. The 

121 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

long, elegant tail of the letter G, the first letter 
of her name, which stood at the bottom of the 
sheet, reminded him of her lovely fingers, her 
hand. . . . He thought that he had not once 
touched that hand with his lips. . . . ' Italian 
women,' he mused, * in spite of what 's said of 
them, are modest and severe. . . . And Gemma 
above all ! Queen . . . goddess . . . pure, 
virginal marble. . . .' 

* But the time will come ; and it is not far 
off. . . .' There was that night in Frankfort 
one happy man. . . . He slept ; but he might 
have said of himself in the words of the poet : 

* I sleep . . . but my watchful heart sleeps not.' 
And it fluttered as lightly as a butterfly 
flutters his wings, as he stoops over the flowers 
in the summer sunshine. 



xxvn 

At five o'clock Sanin woke up, at six he was 
dressed, at half-past six he was walking up and 
down the public garden within sight of the 
little arbour which Gemma had mentioned in 
her note. It was a still, warm, grey morning. 
It sometimes seemed as though it were begin- 
ning to rain ; but the outstretched hand felt 
nothing, and only looking at one's coat-slccve, 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

one could see traces of tiny drops like diminu- 
tive beads, but even these were soon gone. It 
seemed there had never been a breath of wind 
in the world. Every sound moved not, but 
was shed around in the stillness. In the 
distance was a faint thickening of whitish mist ; 
in the air there was a scent of mignonette and 
white acacia flowers. 

In the streets the shops were not open yet, 
but there were already some people walking 
about ; occasionally a solitary carriage rumbled 
along . . . there was no one walking in the 
garden. A gardener was in a leisurely way 
scraping the path with a spade, and a decrepit 
old woman in a black woollen cloak was 
hobbling across the garden walk. Sanin could 
not for one instant mistake this poor old 
creature for Gemma ; and yet his heart leaped, 
and he watched attentively the retreating patch 
of black. 

Seven ! chimed the clock on the tower. 
Sanin stood still. Was it possible she would 
not come ? A shiver of cold suddenly ran 
through his limbs. The same shiver came 
again an instant later, but from a different 
cause. Sanin heard behind him light footsteps, 
the light rustle of a woman's dress. . . . He 
turned round : she ! 

Gemma was coming up behind him along 
123 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

the path. She was wearing a grey cape and a 
small dark hat. She glanced at Sanin, turned 
her head away, and catching him up, passed 
rapidly by him. 

* Gemma,' he articulated, hardly audibly. 

She gave him a little nod, and continued to 
walk on in front. He followed her. 

He breathed in broken gasps. His legs 
shook under him. 

Gemma passed by the arbour, turned to the 
right, passed by a small flat fountain, in which 
the sparrows were splashing busily, and, going 
behind a clump of high lilacs, sank down on a 
bench. The place was snug and hidden. 
Sanin sat down beside her. 

A minute passed, and neither he nor she 
uttered a word. She did not even look at him ; 
and he gazed not at her face, but at her clasped 
hands, in which she held a small parasol. 
What was there to tell, what was there to say, 
which could compare, in importance, with the 
simple fact of their presence there, together, 
alone, so early, so close to each other. 

' You . . . are not angry with me ? ' Sanin 
articulated at last. 

It would have been difficult for Sanin to 
have said anything more foolish than these 
words ... he was conscious of it himself . . . 
But, at any rate, the silence was broken. 
124 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

' Angry ? ' she answered. * What for ? No.' 

* And you believe me ? ' he went on. 

* In what you wrote ? ' 
' Yes.' 

Gemma's head sank, and she said nothing. 
The parasol slipped out of her hands. She 
hastily caught it before it dropped on the path. 

* Ah, believe me ! believe what I wrote to 
you ! ' cried Sanin ; all his timidity suddenly 
vanished, he spoke with heat ; ' if there is truth 
on earth — sacred, absolute truth — it 's that I 
love, love you passionately, Gemma.' 

She flung him a sideway, momentary glance, 
and again almost dropped the parasol. 

' Believe me ! believe me ! ' he repeated. He 
besought her, held out his hands to her, and 
did not dare to touch her. ' What do you 
want me to do ... to convince you ? ' 

She glanced at him again. 

' Tell me. Monsieur Dimitri,' she began ; ' the 
day before yesterday, when you came to talk 
to me, you did not, I imagine, know then . . . 
did not feel . . .' 

' I felt it,' Sanin broke in ; ' but I did not 
know it. I have loved you from the very 
instant I saw you ; but I did not realise at 
once what you had become to me ! And 
besides, I heard that you were solemnly be- 
trothed. ... As far as your mother's request 
125 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

is concerned — in the first place, how could I 
refuse? — and secondly, I think I carried out 
her request in such a way that you could 
guess. . . .' 

They heard a heavy tread, and a rather stout 
gentleman with a knapsack over his shoulder, 
apparently a foreigner, emerged from behind 
the clump, and staring, with the unceremonious- 
ness of a tourist, at the couple sitting on the 
garden-seat, gave a loud cough and went on. 

'Your mother,' Sanin began, as soon as the 
sound of the heavy footsteps had ceased, ' told 
me your breaking off your engagement would 
cause a scandal ' — Gemma frowned a little — 
* that I was myself in part responsible for 
unpleasant gossip, and that . . . consequently 
... I was, to some extent, under an obligation 
to advise you not to break with your betrothed, 
Herr Kliiber. . . .' 

' Monsieur Dimitri,' said Gemma, and she 
passed her hand over her hair on the side 
turned towards Sanin, ' don't, please, call Herr 
Kliiber my betrothed. I shall never be his 
wife. I have broken with him.' 

' You have broken with him ? when ? ' 

* Yesterday.' 

* You saw him ? ' 

* Yes. At our house. He came to sec us.' 
' Gemma ? Then you love me ? ' 

126 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

She turned to him. 

'Should ... I have come here, if not.^' she 
whispered, and both her hands fell on the seat. 

Sanin snatched those powerless, upturned 
palms, and pressed them to his eyes, to his 
lips. . . . Now the veil was lifted of which he 
had dreamed the night before ! Here was 
happiness, here was its radiant form ! 

He raised his head, and looked at Gemma, 
boldly and directly. She, too, looked at him, 
a little downwards. Her half-shut eyes faintly 
glistened, dim with light, blissful tears. Her 
face was not smiling ... no ! it laughed, with 
a blissful, noiseless laugh. 

He tried to draw her to him, but she drew 
back, and never ceasing to laugh the same 
noiseless laugh, shook her head. ' Wait a little,* 
her happy eyes seemed to say. 

' O Gemma 1 ' cried Sanin : ' I never dreamed 
that you would love me ! ' 

* I did not expect this myself,' Gemma said 
softly. 

' How could I ever have dreamed,' Sanin went 
on, ' when I came to Frankfort, where I only 
expected to remain a few hours, that I should 
find here the happiness of all my life ! ' 

* All your life ? Really ? ' queried Gemma. 

' All my life, for ever and ever ! ' cried Sanin 
with fresh ardour. 

127 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

The gardener's spade suddenly scraped two 
paces from where they were sitting. 

* Let 's go home,' whispered Gemma : * we '11 
go together — will you ? ' 

If she had said to him at that instant ' Throw 
yourself in the sea, will you ? ' he would have 
been flying headlong into the ocean before she 
had uttered the last word. 

They went together out of the garden and 
turned homewards, not by the streets of the 
town, but through the outskirts. 



XXVIII 

Sanin walked along, at one time by Gemma's 
side, at another time a little behind her. He 
never took his eyes off her and never ceased 
smiling. She seemed to hasten . . . seemed to 
linger. As a matter of fact, they both — he all 
pale, and she all flushed with emotion — were 
moving along as in a dream. What they had 
done together a few instants before — that sur- 
render of each soul to another soul — was so 
intense, so new, and so moving ; so suddenly 
everything in their lives had been changed and 
displaced that they could not recover them- 
selves, and were only aware of a whirlwind 
carrying them along, like the whirlwind on that 
128 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

night, which had almost flung them into each 
other's arms. Sanin walked along, and felt 
that he even looked at Gemma with other 
eyes ; he instantly noted some peculiarities in 
her walk, in her movements, — and heavens ! 
how infinitely sweet and precious they were to 
him ! And she felt that that was how he was 
looking at her. 

Sarnnj^nH she werp in loyp for the first time ; 
all the miracles of first love were working in 
them. First love is like a revolution ; the 
uniformly regular routine of ordered life is 
broken down and shattered in one instant ; 
youth mounts the barricade, waves high its 
bright flag, and whatever awaits it in the future 
— death or a new life — all alike it goes to meet 
with ecstatic welcome. 

'What's this? Isn't that our old friend?' 
said Sanin, pointing to a muffled-up figure, 
which hurriedly slipped a little aside as though 
trying to remain unobserved. In the midst of 
his abundant happiness he felt a need to talk 
to Gemma, not of love — that was a settled 
thing and holy — but of something else. 

* Yes, it 's Pantaleone,' Gemma answered 
gaily and happily. ' Most likely he has been 
following me ever since I left home ; all day 
yesterday he kept watching every movement 
I made . . . He guesses ! ' 
I 129 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

' He guesses ! ' Sanin repeated in ecstasy. 
What could Gemma have said at which he 
would not have been in ecstasy? 

Then he asked her to tell him in detail all 
that had passed the day before. 

And she began at once telling him, with 
haste, and confusion, and smiles, and brief 
sighs, and brief bright looks exchanged with 
Sanin. She said that after their conversation 
the day before yesterday, mamma had kept 
trying to get out of her something positive ; 
but that she had put off Frau Lenore with 
a promise to tell her her decision within twenty- 
four hours ; how she had demanded this limit 
of time for herself, and how difficult it had been 
to get it; how utterly unexpectedly Herr Kliiber 
had made his appearance more starched and 
affected than ever; how he had given vent to^ 
his Jiidignation at the childish, unpardonable 
action of the Russian stranger — * he meant 
your duel, Dimitri,' — which he described as 
deeply insulting to him, Kliiber, and how he 
had demanded that 'you should be at once 
refused admittance to the house, Dimitri.' 
* For,' he had added — and here Gemma slightly 
mimicked his voice and manner — * " it casts a 
slur on my honour ; as though I were not able 
to defend my betrothed, had I thought it 
necessary or advisable ! All Frankfort will 
130 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

know by to-morrow that an outsider has fought 
a duel with an officer on account of my be- 
trothed — did any one ever hear of such a thing ! 
It tarnishes my honour ! " Mamma agreed with 
him — fancy ! — but then I suddenly told him 
that he was troubling himself unnecessarily 
about his honour and his character, and was 
unnecessarily annoyed at the gossip about his 
betrothed, for I was no longer betrothed to him 
and would never be his wife ! I must own, I 
had meant to talk to you first . . . before break- 
ing with him finally ; but he came . . . and I 
could not restrain myself. Mamma positively 
screamed with horror, but I went into the next 
room and got his ring — you didn't notice, I 
took it off two days ago — and gave it to him. 
He was fearfully offended, but as he is fear- 
fully self-conscious and conceited, he did not 
say much, and went away. Of course I had to 
go through a great deal with mamma, and it 
made me very wretched to see how distressed 
she was, and I thought I had been a little hasty ; 
but you see I had your note, and even apart 
from it I knew . . .' 

'That I love you,' put in Sanin. 

*Yes . . . that you were in love with me.' 

So Gemma talked, hesitating and smiling 

and dropping her voice or stopping altogether 

every time any one met them or passed by. 

131 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

And Sanin listened ecstatically, enjoying the 
very sound of her voice, as the day before he 
had gloated over her handwriting. 

'Mamma is very much distressed,' Gemma 
began again, and her words flew very rapidly 
one after another ; ' she refuses to take into 
consideration that I dislike Herr Kluber, that 
I never was betrothed to him from love, but only 
because of her urgent entreaties. . . . She 
suspects — you, Dimitri ; that 's to say, to speak 
plainly, she 's convinced I 'm in love with you, 
and she is more unhappy about it because only 
the day before yesterday nothing of the sort 
had occurred to her, and she even begged you 
to advise me. ... It was a strange request, 
wasn't it? Now she calls you . . ..Dimitri, a 
hypocrite and a cunning fellow, says that you 
have betrayed her confidence, and predicts that 
you will deceive me. . . .' 

* But, Gemma,' cried Sanin, * do you mean to 
say you didn't tell her ? . .' 

'I told her nothing! What right had I 
without consulting you ? ' 

Sanin threw up his arms. ' Gemma, I hope 
that now, at least, you will tell all to her 
and take me to her. ... I want to convince 
your mother that I am not a base deceiver ! ' 

Sanin's bosom fairly heaved with the flood of 
generous and ardent emotions. 
132 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Gemma looked him full in the face. 'You 
really want to go with me now to mamma? 
to mamma, who maintains that ... all this 
between us is impossible — and can never come 
to pass?' There was one word Gemma could 
not bring herself to utter. . . . It burnt her lips ; 
but all the more eagerly Sanin pronounced it. 

' Marry you, Gemma, be your husband — I 
can imagine no bliss greater ! ' 

To his love, his magnanimity, his determina- 
tion — he was aware of no limits now. 

When she heard those words, Gemma, who 
had stopped still for an instant, went on faster 
than ever. . . . She seemed trying to run away 
from this too great and unexpected happiness ! 

But suddenly her steps faltered. Round the 
corner of a turning, a few paces from her, in a 
new hat and coat, straight as an arrow and 
curled like a poodle — emerged Herr Kliiber. 
He caught sight of Gemma, caught sight of 
Sanin, and with a sort of inward snort and a 
backward bend of his supple figure, he advanced 
with a dashing swing to meet them. Sanin 
felt a pang ; but glancing at Kluber's face, to 
which its owner endeavoured, as far as in him 
lay, to give an expression of scornful amaze- 
ment, and even commiseration, glancing at 
that red-cheeked, vulgar face, he felt a sudden 
rush of anger, and took a step forward. 
133 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Gemma seized his arm, and with quiet de- 
cision, giving him hers, she looked her former 
betrothed full in the face. . . . The latter 
screwed up his face, shrugged his shoulders, 
shuffled to one side, and muttering between 
his teeth, 'The usual end to the song!' (Das 
alte Ende vom Liede !) — walked away with the 
same dashing, slightly skipping gait. 

' What did he say, the wretched creature ? ' 
asked Sanin, and would have rushed after 
Kliiber ; but Gemma held him back and walked 
on with him, not taking away the arm she had 
slipped into his. 

The Rosellis' shop came into sight. Gemma 
stopped once more. 

* Dimitri, Monsieur Dimitri,' she said, * we 
are not there yet, we have not seen mamma 
yet. ... If you would rather think a little, 
if . . . you are still free, Dimitri ! ' 

In reply Sanin pressed her hand tightly to 
his bosom, and drew her on. 

* Mamma,' said Gemma, going with Sanin 
to the room where Frau Lenore was sitting, ' I 
have brought the real one ! ' 

XXIX 

If Gemma had announced that she had brought 

with her cholera or death itself, one can hardly 

134 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

imagine that Frau Lenorc could have received 
the news with greater despair. She immediately 
sat down in a corner, with her face to the wall, 
and burst into floods of tears, positively wailed, 
for all the world like a Russian peasant woman 
on the grave of her husband or her son. For 
the first minute Gemma was so taken aback 
that she did not even go up to her mother, 
but stood still like a statue in the middle of the 
room ; while Sanin was utterly stupefied, to the 
point of almost bursting into tears himself! 
For a whole hour that inconsolable wail went 
on — a whole hour! Pantaleone thought it 
better to shut the outer door of the shop, so 
that no stranger should come ; luckily, it was 
still early. The old man himself did not know 
what to think, and in any case, did not approve 
of the haste with which Gemma and Sanin had 
acted ; he could not bring himself to blame 
them, and was prepared to give them his 
support in case of need : he greatly disliked 
Kliiber ! Emil regarded himself as the medium 
of communication between his friend and his 
sister, and almost prided himself on its all 
having turned out so splendidly ! He was 
positively unable to conceive why Frau Lenore 
was so upset, and in his heart h e decided on 
the spot that women, e /en the best of them, 
suffeTTrom^a Tack 'of "reasbmrig power ! Sanin 
135 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

fared worst of all. Frau Lenore rose to a howl 
and waved him off with her hands, directly 
he approached her ; and it was in vain that 
he attempted once or twice to shout aloud, 
standing at a distance, ' I ask you for your 
daughter's hand ! ' Frau Lenore was particu- 
larly angry with herself. ' How could she have 
been so blind-^have seen nothing? Had my 
Giovann' Battista been alive,' she persisted 
through her tears, * nothing of this sort would 
have happened ! ' ' Heavens, what 's it all 
about ? ' thought Sanin ; ' why, it 's positively 
senseless ! ' He did not dare to look at Gemma, 
nor could she pluck up courage to lift her eyes 
to him. She restricted herself to waiting 
patiently on her mother, who at first repelled 
even her. . . . 

At last, by degrees, the storm abated. Frau 
Lenore gave over weeping, permitted Gemma 
to bring her out of the corner, where she sat 
huddled up, to put her into an arm-chair near 
the window, and to give her some orange-flower 
water to drink. She permitted Sanin — not to 
approach . . . oh, no ! — but, at any rate, to 
remain in the room — she had kept clamouring 
for him to go away — and did not interrupt him 
when he spoke. Sanin immediately availed 
himself of the calm as it set in, and displayed 
an astounding eloquence. He could hardly 
136 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

have explained his intentions and emotions with 
more fire and persuasive force even to Gemma 
herself. Those emotions were of the sincerest, 
those intentions were of the purest, like 
Almaviva's in the Barber of Seville. He 
did not conceal from Frau Lenore nor from 
himself the disadvantageous side of those in- 
tentions ; but the disadvantages were only 
apparent ! It is true he was a foreigner ; they 
had not known him long, they knew nothing 
positive about himself or his means ; but he 
was prepared to bring forward all the necessary 
evidence that he was a respectable person and 
not poor ; he would refer them to the most 
unimpeachable testimony of his fellow-country- 
men ! He hoped Gemma would be happy with 
him, and that he would be able to make up to 
her for the separation from her own people ! . . . 
The allusion to ' separation ' — the mere word 
' separation ' — almost spoiled the whole busi- 
ness. . . . Frau Lenore began to tremble all 
over and move about uneasily. . . . Sanin 
hastened to observe that the separation would 
only be temporary, and that, in fact, possibly it 
would not take place at all ! 

Sanin's eloquence was not thrown away. 

Frau Lenore began to glance at him, though 

still with bitterness and reproach, no longer 

with the same aversion and fury; then she 

137 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

suffered him to come near her, and even to 
sit down beside her (Gemma was sitting on the 
other side) ; then she fell to reproaching him, — 
not in looks only, but in words, which already 
indicated a certain softening of heart ; she fell 
to complaining, and her complaints became 
quieter and gentler ; they were interspersed 
with questions addressed at one time to her 
daughter, and at another to Sanin ; then she 
suffered him to take her hand and did not at 
once pull it away . . . then she wept again, 
but her tears were now quite of another kind. . . . 
Then she smiled mournfully, and lamented the 
absence of Giovanni Battista, but quite on 
different grounds from before. . . . An instant 
more and the two criminals, Sanin and Gemma, 
\were on their knees at her feet, and she was 
taying her hands on their heads in turn ; 
another instant and they were embracing and 
kissing her, and Emil, his face beaming rap- 
turously, ran into the room and added himself 
to the group so warmly united. 

Pantaleone peeped into the room, smiled 
and frowned at the same time, and going into 
the shop, opened the front door. 



38 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 



XXX 

The transition from despair to sadness, and 
from that to 'gentle resignation/ was accom- 
plished fairly quickly in Frau Lenore ; but that 
gentle resignation, too, was not slow in chang- 
ing into a secret satisfaction, which was, how- 
ever, concealed in every way and suppressed 
for the sake of appearances. Sanin had won 
Frau Lenore's heart from the first day of their 
acquaintance; as she got used to the idea of 
his being her son-in-law, she found nothing 
particularly distasteful in it, though she thought 
it her duty to preserve a somewhat hurt, 
or rather careworn, expression on her face. 
Besides, everything that had happened the last 
few days had been so extraordinary. . . . One 
thing upon the top of another. As a practical 
woman and a mother, Frau Lenore considered 
it her duty also to put Sanin through various 
questions ; and Sanin, who, on setting out that 
morning to meet Gemma, had not a notion that 
he should marry her — it is true he did not 
think of anything at all at that time, but 
simply gave himself up to the current of his 
passion — Sanin entered, with perfect readiness, 
one might even say with zeal, into his part — 
the part of the betrothed lover, and answered 
139 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

all har inquiries circumstantially, exactly, with 
alacrity. When she had satisfied herself that 
he was a real nobleman by birth, and had even 
expressed some surprise that he was not a 
prince, Frau Lenore assumed a serious air and 
* warned him betimes ' that she should be quite 
unceremoniously frank with him, as she was 
forced to be so by her sacred duty as a mother ! 
To which Sanin replied that he expected 
nothing else from her, and that he earnestly 
begged her not to spare him ! 

Then Frau Lenore observed that Herr 
Kliiber — as she uttered the name, she sighed 
faintly, tightened her lips, and hesitated — Herr 
Kliiber, Gemma's former betrothed, already 
possessed an income of eight thousand guldens, 
and that with every year this sum would rapidly 
be increased ; and what was his, Herr Sanin's 
income? 'Eight thousand guldens,' Sanin 
repeated deliberately. . . . * That's in our 
money . . . about fifteen thousand roubles. . . . 
My income is much smaller. I have a small 
estate in the province of Tula. . . . With good 
management, it might yield — and, in fact, it 
could not fail to yield — five or six thousand . . . 
and if I go into the government service, I can 
easily get a salary of two thousand a year.' 

'Into the service in Russia?' cried Frau 
Lenore. ' Then I must part with Gemma ! ' 
140 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

*One might be able to enter in the diplo- 
matic service,' Sanin put in ; * I have some 
connections. . . . There one's duties lie abroad. 
Or else, this is what one might do, and that 's 
much the best of all : sell my estate and em- 
ploy the sum received for it in some profitable 
undertaking ; for instance, the improvement of 
your shop.' Sanin was aware that he was 
saying something absurd, but he was possessed 
by an incomprehensible recklessness ! He looked 
at Gemma, who, ever since the * practical ' con- 
versation began, kept getting up, walking about 
the room, and sitting down again — he looked 
at her — and no obstacle existed for him, and he 
was ready to arrange everything at once in the 
best way, if only she were not troubled ! 

' Herr Kluber,too, had intended to give me a 
small sum for the improvement of the shop,' 
Lenore observed after a slight hesitation. 

' Mother ! for mercy's sake, mother ! ' cried 
Gemma in Italian. 

* These things must be discussed in good 
time, my daughter,' Frau Lenore replied in the 
same language. She addressed herself again 
to Sanin, and began questioning him as to the 
laws existing in Russia as to marriage, and 
whether there were no obstacles to contracting 
marriages with Catholics as in Prussia. (At 
that time, in 1840, all Germany still remem- 
141 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

bered the controversy between the Prussian 
Government and the Archbishop of Cologne 
upon mixed marriages.) When Frau Lenore 
heard that by marrying a Russian nobleman, 
her daughter would herself become of noble 
rank, she evinced a certain satisfaction. ' But, 
of course, you will first have to go to Russia ? ' 

'Why?' 

'Why? Why, to obtain the permission of 
your Tsar.' 

Sanin explained to her that that was not at 
all necessary . . . but that he might certainly 
have to go to Russia for a very short time before 
his marriage — (he said these words, and his 
heart ached painfully, Gemma watching him. 
knew it was aching, and blushed anr grew 
dreamy) — and that he would try to take 
advantage of being in his own country o sell 
his estate ... in any case he would bring back 
the money needed. 

' I would ask you to bring me back some 
good Astrakhan lambskin for a cape,' said Frau 
Lenore. 'They're wonderfully good, I hear, 
and wonderfully cheap ! ' 

' Certainly, with the greatest pleasure, I will 
bring some for you and for Gemma ! ' cried Sanin. 

* And for me a morocco cap worked in 
silver,* Emil interposed, putting his head in 
from the next room. 

142 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

' Very well, I will bring it you . . . and some 
slippers for Pantaleone.' 

* Come, that 's nonsense, nonsense,' observed 
Frau Lenore. * We are talking now of serious 
matters. But there 's another point,' added the 
practical lady. 'You talk of selling your 
estate. But how will you do that ? Will you 
sell your peasants then, too ? ' 

Sanin felt something like a stab at his 
heart. He remembered that in a conversation 
with Signota Roselli and her daughter about 
serfdom, which, in his own words, aroused his 
deepest indignation, he had repeatedly assured 
them that never on any account would he sell 
his peasants, as he regarded such a sale as an 
immoral act. 

• I will try and sell my estate to some man I 
know something of,' he articulated, not without 
faltering, *or perhaps the peasants themselves 
will want to buy their freedom.' 

*That would be best of all,' Frau Lenore 
agreed. ' Though indeed selling live people . . . ' 

'Barbara' grumbled Pantaleone, who showed 
himself behind Emil in the doorway, shook his 
topknot, and vanished. 

*Jt's a bad business ! ' Sanin thought to him- 
self, and stole a look at Gemma. She seemed 
not to have heard his last words. * Well, never 
mind!' he thought again. In this way the 
143 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

practical talk continued almost uninterruptedly 
till dinner-time. Frau Lenore was completely 
softened at last, and already called Sanin 
* Dimitri,' shook her finger affectionately at him, 
and promised she would punish him for his 
treachery. She asked many and minute ques- 
tions about his relations,i3ecause * that too is 
very important'; asked him to describe the 
ceremony of marriage as performed by the 
ritual of the Russian Church, and was in 
raptures already at Gemma in a white dress, 
with a gold crown on her head. 

' She's as lovely as a queen,' she murmured 
with motherly pride, * indeed there 's no queen 
like her in the world ! ' 

* There is no one like Gemma in the world ! ' 
Sanin chimed in. 

* Yes ; that 's why she is Gemma ! * (Gemma, 
as everyone knows, means in Italian a precious 
stone.) 

Gemma flew to kiss her mother. ... It 
seemed as if only then she breathed freely 
again, and the load that had been oppressing 
her dropped from off her aoul. 

Sanin felt all at once so happy, his heart was 
filled with such childish gaiety at the thought, 
that here, after all, the dreams had come true to 
which he had abandoned himself not long ago 
in these very rooms, his whole being was in 
144 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

such a turmoil that he went quickly out into 

the shop. He felt a great desire, come what 

might, to sell something in the shop, as he had 

done a few days before. . . . ' I have a full right 

to do so now ! ' he felt. ' Why, I am one of the 

family now ! ' And he actually stood behind 

rie counter, and actually kept shop, that is, 

old two little girls, who came in, a pound of 

weets, giving them fully two pounds, and only 

aking half the price from them. 

At dinner he received an official position, as 
betrothed, beside Gemma. Frau Lenore pur- 
sued her practical investigations. Emil kept 
laughing and urging Sanin to take him with 
him to Russia. It was decided that Sanin 
should set off in a fortnight. Only Pantaleone 
showed a somewhat sullen face, so much so 
that Frau Lenore reproached him. * And he 
was his second ! ' Pantaleone gave her a glance 
from under his brows. 

Gemma was silent almost all the time, but 
ler face had never been lovelier or brighter. 
After dinner she called Sanin out a minute 
into the garden, and stopping beside the very 
garden-seat where she had been sorting the 
cherries two days before, she said to him. 
' Dimitri, don't be angry with me ; but I must 
remind you once more that you are not to 
consider yourself bound . . .' 
K 145 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

He did not let her go on . . . 

Gemma turned away her face. ' And as for 
what mamma spoke of, do you remember, the 
difference of our religion — see here ! . . .' 

She snatched the garnet cross that hung 
round her neck on a thin cord, gave it a violent 
tug, snapped the cord, and handed him the 
-<:ross. 

* If I am yours, your faith is my faith ! ' 
Sanin's eyes were still wet when he went back 
xtvith Gemma into the house. 

By the evening everything went on in its 
accustomed way. They even played a game of 
tresette, 

XXXI 

Sanin woke up very early. He found himself 
at the highest pinnacle of human happiness ; 
but it was not that prevented him from sleep- 
ing ; the question, the vital, fateful question — 
how he could dispose of his estate as quickly 
and as advantageously as possible — disturbed 
his rest. The most diverse plans were mixed 
up in his head, but nothing had as yet come 
out clearly. He went out of the house to get 
air and freshen himself. He wanted to present 
himself to Gemma with a project ready pre- 
pared and not without. 

146 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

What was the figure, somewhat ponderous 

and thick in the legs, but well-dressed, walking 
in front of him, with a slight roll and waddle 
in his gait ? Where had he seen that head, 
covered with tufts of flaxen hair, and as it were 
set right into the shoulders, that soft cushiony 
back, those plump arms hanging straight down 
at his sides ? Could it be Polozov, his old 
schoolfellow, whom he had lost sight of for the 
last five years ? Sanin overtook the figure walk- 
ing in front of him, turned round. ... A broad, 
yellowish face, little pig's eyes, with white lashes 
and eyebrows, a short flat nose, thick lips that 
looked glued together, a round smooth chin, and 
that expression, sour, sluggish, and mistrustful 
— yes ; it was he, it was Ip^olit Polozov ! 

* Isn't my lucky star workmgfTbr-me again ? ' 
flashed through Sanin's mind. 

' Polozov ! Ippolit Sidorovitch ! Is it you ? ' 

The figure stopped, raised his diminutive 
eyes, waited a little, and ungluing his lips at 
last, brought out in a rather hoarse falsetto, 
' Dimitri Sanin?' 

'That's me!' cried Sanin, and he shook one 
of Polozov's hands ; arrayed in tight kid-gloves 
of an ashen-grey colour, they hung as lifeless as 
before beside his barrel-shaped legs. ' Have you 
been here long ? Where have you come from ? 
Where are you stopping ? ' 
147 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* I came yesterday from Wiesbaden,' Polozov 
replied in deliberate tones, * to do some shopping 
for my wife, and I 'm going back to Wiesbaden 
to-day.' 

' Oh, yes ! You 're married, to be sure, and 
they say, to such a beauty ! ' 

Polozov turned his eyes away. 'Yes, they 
say so.' 

Sanin laughed. 'I see you're just the same 
... as phlegmatic as you were at school.' 

' Why should I be different ? ' 

* And they do say,' Sanin added with special 
emphasis on the word * do,' ' that your wife is 
very rich.' 

' They say that too.' 

'Do you mean to say, Ippolit Sidorovitch, 
you are not certain on that point } ' 

* I don't meddle, my dear Dimitri . . . Pavlo- 
vitch ? Yes, Pavlovitch ! — in my wife's affairs.' 

'You don't meddle? Not in any of her 
affairs ? ' 

Polozov again shifted his eyes. ' Not in any, 
my boy. She does as she likes, and so do I.' 

* Where are you going now ? ' Sanin inquired. 

* I 'm not going anywhere just now ; I 'm 
standing in the street and talking to you ; but 
when we 've finished talking, I 'm going back 
to my hotel, and am going to have lunch.' 

* Would you care for my company } ' 

148 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* You mean at lunch ? ' 
*Yes.' 

' Delighted, it 's much pleasanter to eat in 
company. You 're not a great talker, are you ? ' 
' I think not' 

* So much the better.' 

Polozov went on. Sanin walked beside him. 
And Sanin speculated — Polozov's lips were 
glued together, again he snorted heavily, and 
waddled along in silence — Sanin speculated in 
what way had this booby succeeded in catching 
a rich and beautiful wife. He was not rich him- 
self, nor distinguished, nor clever ; at school he 
had passed for a dull, slow-witted boy, sleepy, 
and greedy, and had borne the nickname 
* driveller.' It was marvellous ! 

* But if his wife is very rich, they say she 's 
the daughter of some sort of a contractor, 
won't she buy my estate ? Though he does 
say he doesn't interfere in any of his wife's 
affairs, that passes belief, really ! Besides, I will 
name a moderate, reasonable price ! Why not 
try? Perhaps, it's all my lucky star. . . . 
Resolved ! I '11 have a try ! ' 

Polozov led Sanin to one of the best hotels 
in Frankfort, in which he was, of course, occupy- 
ing the best apartments. On the tables and 
chairs lay piles of packages, cardboard boxes, 
and parcels. ' All purchases, my boy, for Maria 
149 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Nikolaevna ! ' (that was the name of the wife 
of Ippolit Sidorovitch). Polozov dropped into 
an arm-chair, groaned, * Oh, the heat ! ' and 
loosened his cravat. Then he rang up the head- 
waiter, and ordered with intense care a very 
lavish luncheon. * And at one, the carriage is 
to be ready ! Do you hear, at one o'clock sharp ! ' 

The head-waiter obsequiously bowed, and 
cringingly withdrew. 

Polozov unbuttoned his waistcoat. From the 
very way in which he raised his eyebrows, 
gasped, and wrinkled up his nose, one could see 
that talking would be a great labour to him, and 
that he was waiting in some trepidation to see 
whether Sanin was going to oblige him to use 
his tongue, or whether he would take the task 
of keeping up the conversation on himself. 

Sanin understood his companion's disposi- 
tion of mind, and so he did not burden him 
with questions ; he restricted himself to the 
most essential. He learnt that he had been for 
two years in the service (in the Uhlans ! how 
nice he must have looked in the short uniform 
jacket !) that he had married three years before, 
and had now been for two years abroad with his 
wife, ' who is now undergoing some sort of cure 
at Wiesbaden,' and was then going to Paris. 
On his side too, Sanin did not enlarge much on 
his past life and his plans ; he went straight to 
150 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

the principal point — that is, he began talking 
of his intention of selling his estate. 

Polozov listened to him in silence, his eyes 
straying from time to time to the door, by 
which the luncheon was to appear. The 
luncheon did appear at last. The head-waiter, 
accompanied by two other attendants, brought 
in several dishes under silver covers. 

* Is the property in the Tula province ? ' said 
Polozov, seating himself at the table, and tuck- 
ing a napkin into his shirt collar. 

' Yes.' 

* In the Efremovsky district ... I know it' 

' Do you know my place, Aleksyevka ? ' 
Sanin asked, sitting down too at the table. 

*Yes, I know it.' Polozov thrust in his 
mouth a piece of omelette with truffles. ' Maria 
Nikolaevna, my wife, has an estate in that 
neighbourhood. . . . Uncork that bottle, waiter ! 
You 've a good piece of land, only your peasants 
have cut down the timber. "Why are you 
selling it?' 

' I want the money, my friend. I would sell 
it cheap. Come, you might as well buy it . . . 
by the way.' 

Polozov gulped down a glass of wine, wiped 
his lips with the napkin, and again set to work 
chewing slowly and noisily. 

' Oh,' he enunciated at last. ... * I don't go 
151 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

in for buying estates ; I 've no capital. Pass the 
butter. Perhaps my wife now would buy it. You 
talk to her about it. If you don't ask too much, 
she 's not above thinking of that. . . . What asses 
these Germans are, really ! They can't cook fish. 
What could be simpler, one wonders? And 
yet they go on about " uniting the Fatherland." 
Waiter, take away that beastly stuff! ' 

' Does your wife really manage . . . business 
matters herself?' Sanin inquired. 

' Yes. Try the cutlets — they 're good. I can 
recommend them. I 've told you already, 
Dimitri Pavlovitch, I don't interfere in any of 
my wife's concerns, and I tell you so again.' 

Polozov went on munching. 

' H'm. . . . But how can I have a talk with 
her, Ippolit Sidoritch ? ' 

* It 's very simple, Dimitri Pavlovitch. Go to 
Wiesbaden. It's not far from here. Waiter, 
haven't you any English mustard ? No ? 
Brutes ! Only don't lose any time. We 're 
starting the day after to-morrow. Let me 
pour you out a glass of wine ; it's wine with a 
bouquet — no vinegary stuff' 

Polozov's face was flushed and animated ; it 
was never animated but when he was eating 
— or drinking. 

' Really, I don't know, how that could be 
managed,' Sanin muttered. 
152 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* But what makes you in such a hurry about 
it all of a sudden ? ' 

* There is a reason for being in a hurry, 
brother.' 

* And do you need a lot of money ? ' 

* Yes, a lot. I . . . how can I tell you ? I 
propose . . . getting married.' 

Polozov set the glass he had been lifting to 
his lips on the table. 

' Getting married ! ' he articulated in a voice 
thick with astonishment, and he folded his 
podgy hands on his stomach. ' So suddenly ? ' 

'Yes . . . soon.' 

'Your intended is in Russia, of course .?' 

* No, not in Russia.' 
' Where then ? ' 

* Here in Frankfort' 

* And who is she ? ' 

'A German; that is, no — an Italian. A 
resident here.' 

' With a fortune ? ' 

* No, without a fortune.' 

*Then I suppose your love is very ar- 
dent ? ' 

' How absurd you are ! Yes, very ardent.' 
' And it 's for that you must have money ?' 

* Well, yes . . . yes, yes.' 

Polozov gulped down his wine, rinsed his 
mouth, and washed his hands, carefully wiped 
153 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

them on the napkin, took out and lighted a 
cigar. Sanin watched him in silence. 

* There 's one means/ Polozov grunted at last, 
throwing his head back, and blowing out the 
smoke in a thin ring. 'Go to my wife. If she 
likes, she can take all the bother off your 
hands.' 

* But how can I see your wife ? You say you 
are starting the day after to-morrow ? ' 

Polozov closed his eyes. 

* I '11 tell you what/ he said at last, rolling the 
cigar in his lips, and sighing. * Go home, get 
ready as quick as you can, and come here. At 
one o'clock I am going, there 's plenty of room 
in my carriage. I '11 take you with me. That 's 
the best plan. And now I 'm going to have a 
nap. I must always have a nap, brother, after 
a meal. Nature demands it, and I won't go 
against it. And don't you disturb me.' 

Sanin thought and thought, and suddenly 
raised his head ; he had made up his mind. 

' Very well, agreed, and thank you. At half- 
past twelve I '11 be here, and we '11 go together 
to Wiesbaden. I hope your wife won't be 
angry. . . .' 

But Polozov was already snoring. He 
muttered, ' Don't disturb me ! ' gave a kick, and 
fell asleep, like a baby. 

Sanin once more scanned his clumsy figure, 
154 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

his head, his neck, his upturned chin, round as 
an apple, and going out of the hotel, set off 
with rapid strides to the Rosellis' shop. He 
had to let Gemma know. 



XXXII 

He found her in the shop with her mother. 
Frau Lenore was stooping down, measuring 
with a big folding foot-rule the space between 
the windows. On seeing Sanin, she stood up, 
and greeted him cheerfully, though with a shade 
of embarrassment. 

* What you said yesterday,' she began, ' has 
set my head in a whirl with ideas as to how we 
could improve our shop. Here, I fancy we 
might put a couple of cupboards with shelves 
of looking-glass. You know, that 's the fashion 
nowadays. And then . . .' 

* Excellent, excellent,' Sanin broke in, * we 
must think it all over. . . . But come here, I 
want to tell you something.' He took Frau 
Lenore and Gemma by the arm, and led them 
into the next room. Frau Lenore was alarmed, 
and the foot-rule slipped out of her hands. 
Gemma too was almost frightened, but she took 
an intent look at Sanin, and was reassured. 
His face, though preoccupied, expressed at the 

155 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

same time keen self-confidence and determina- 
tion. 

He asked both the women to sit down, while 
he remained standing before them, and ges- 
ticulating with his hands and ruffling up his 
hair, he told them all his story ; his meeting 
with Polozov, his proposed expedition to 
Wiesbaden, the chance of selling the estate. 
' Imagine my happiness,' he cried in conclusion : 
' things have taken such a turn that I may even, 
perhaps, not have to go to Russia ! And we 
can have our wedding much sooner than I had 
anticipated ! ' 

* When must you go?' asked Gemma. 

* To-day, in an hour's time ; my friend has 
ordered a carriage — he will take me.' 

* You will write to us ? ' 

* At once ! directly I have had a talk with 
this lady, I will write.' 

' This lady, you say, is very rich ? ' queried 
the practical Frau Lenore. 

' Exceedingly rich ! her father was a mil- 
lionaire, and he left everything to her.' 

'Everything — to her alone? Well, that's so 
much the better for you. Only mind, don't let 
your property go too cheap ! Be sensible and 
firm. Don't let yourself be carried away ! I 
understand your wishing to be Gemma's 
husband as soon as possible . . . but prudence 
156 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

before everything ! Don't forget : the better 
price you get for your estate, the more there 
will be for you two, and for your children.' 

Gemma turned away, and Sanin gave another 
wave of his hand. 'You can rely on my 
prudence, Frau Lenore ! Indeed, I shan't do 
any bargaining with her. I shall tell her the 
fair price ; if she '11 give it — good ; if not, let 
her go.' 

* Do you know her — this lady ? ' asked 
Gemma. 

' I have never seen her.' 

* And when will you come back ? ' 

' If our negotiations come to nothing — the 
day after to-morrow ; if they turn out favour- 
ably, perhaps I may have to stay a day or two 
longer. In any case I shall not linger a minute 
beyond what's necessary. I am leaving my 
heart here, you know ! But I have said what I 
had to say to you, and I must run home before 
setting off too. . . . Give me your hand for 
luck, Frau Lenore — that 's what we always do 
in Russia.' 

* The right or the left ? ' 

*The left, it's nearer the heart. I shall 
reappear the day after to-morrow with my shield 
or on it! Something tells me I shall come 
back in triumph ! Good-bye, my good dear 
ones. . . .' 

157 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

He embraced and kissed Frau Lenore, but 
he asked Gemma to follow him into her room 
— for just a minute — as he must tell her some- 
thing of great importance. He simply wanted 
to say good-bye to her alone. Frau Lenore 
saw that, and felt no curiosity as to the matter 
of such great importance. 

Sanin had never been in Gemma's room 
before. All the magic of love, all its fire and 
rapture and sweet terror, seemed to flame up 
and burst into his soul, directly he crossed its 
sacred threshold. . . . He cast a look of ten- 
derness about him, fell at the sweet girl's feet 
and pressed his face against her waist. . . . 

' You are mine,' she whispered : * you will 
be back soon ? ' 

* I am yours. I will come back,' he declared, 
catching his breath. 

' I shall be longing for you back, my dear 
one! ' 

A few instants later Sanin was running along 
the street to his lodging. He did not even 
notice that Pantaleone, all dishevelled, had 
darted out of the shop-door after him, and was 
shouting something to him and was shaking, 
as though in menace, his lifted hand. 

Exactly at a quarter to one Sanin presented 
himself before Polozov. The carriage with 
158 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

four horses was already standing at the hotel 
gates. On seeing Sanin, Polozov merely com- 
mented, ' Oh ! you 've made up your mind ? ' 
and putting on his hat, cloak, and over-shoes, 
and stuffing cotton-wool into his ears, though 
it was summer-time, went out on to the steps. 
The waiters, by his directions, disposed all his 
numerous purchases in the inside of the 
carriage, lined the place where he was to sit 
with silk cushions, bags, and bundles, put a 
hamper of provisions for his feet to rest on, 
and tied a trunk on to the box. Polozov paid 
with a liberal hand, and supported by the 
deferential door-keeper, whose face was still 
respectful, though he was unseen behind him, 
he climbed gasping into the carriage, sat down, 
disarranged everything about him thoroughly, 
took out and lighted a cigar, and only then 
extended a finger to Sanin, as though to say, 
' Get in, you too ! ' Sanin placed himself beside 
him. Polozov sent orders by the door-keeper 
to the postillion to drive carefully — if he wanted 
drinks ; the carriage steps grated, the doors 
slammed, and the carriage rolled off. 

XXXIII 

It takes less than an hour in these days by rail 
from Frankfort to Wiesbaden ; at that time 

159 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

the extra post did it in three hours. They 
changed horses five times. Part of the time 
Polozov dozed and part of the time he simply 
shook from side to side, holding a cigar in his 
teeth ; he talked very little ; he did not once 
look out of the window ; picturesque views did 
not interest them; he even announced that 
* nature was the death of him ! ' Sanin did not 
speak either, nor did he admire the scenery ; 
he had no thought for it. He was all absorbed 
in reflections and memories. At the stations 
Polozov paid with exactness, took the time by 
his watch, and tipped the postillions — more or 
less — according to their zeal. When they had 
gone half way, he took two oranges out of the 
hamper of edibles, and choosing out the better, 
offered the other to Sanin. Sanin looked 
steadily at his companion, and suddenly burst 
out laughing. 

'What are you laughing at?' the latter 
inquired, very carefully peeling his orange with 
his short white nails. 

' What at ? ' repeated Sanin. ' Why, at our 
journey together.' 

'What about it?' Polozov inquired again, 
dropping into his mouth one of the longitudinal 
sections into which an orange parts. 

*It's so very strange. Yesterday I must 
confess I thought no more of you than of the 
1 60 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Emperor of China, and to-day I 'm driving 
with you to sell my estate to your wife, of 
whom, too, I have not the slightest idea.' 

' Anything may happen,' responded Polozov. 
* When you 've lived a bit longer, you won't be 
surprised at anything. For instance, can you 
fancy me riding as an orderly officer ? But I 
did, and the Grand Duke Mihail Pavlovitch 
gave the order, ' Trot ! let him trot, that fat 
cornet ! Trot now ! Look sharp ! ' 

Sanin scratched behind his ear. 

' Tell me, please, Ippolit Sidorovitch, what 
is your wife like ? What is her character .^ 
It 's very necessary for me to know that, you 
see.' 

' It was very well for him to shout, " Trot ! " ' 
Polozov went on with sudden vehemence, ' But 
me ! how about me ? I thought to myself, 
" You can take your honours and epaulettes — 
and leave me in peace ! " But . . . you asked 
about my wife ? VVhat my wife is ? A p.erspjn 
like.,any one else. Don't wear your hearljipao. 
your sleeve with her — she doesn't like that. 
The great thing is to talk a lot to her I ~~ 
something for her to laugh at. Tell her about 
your love, or something . . . but make it more 
amusing, you know.' 

' How more amusing ? ' 

' Oh, you told me, you know, that you were 
L i6i 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

in love, wanting to get married. Well, then, 
describe that.' 

Sanin was offended. 'What do you find 
laughable in that ? ' 

Polozov only rolled his eyes. The juice from 
the orange was trickling down his chin. 

* Was it your wife sent you to Frankfort to 
shop for her ? ' asked Sanin after a short time. 

* Yes, it was she.' 

* What are the purchases ? ' 
' Toys, of course.' 

' Toys ? have you any children ? ' 

Polozov positively moved away from Sanin. 
' That 's likely ! What do I want with children ? 
Feminine fallals . . . finery. For the toilet.' 

' Do you mean to say you understand such 
things?' 

' To be sure I do.' 

' But didn't you tell me you didn't interfere 
in any of your wife's affairs ? ' 

* I don't in any other. But this ... is no 
consequence. To pass the time — one may do 
it. And my wife has confidence in my taste. 
And I 'm a first-rate hand at bargaining.' 

Polozov began to speak by jerks ; he was 
exhausted already. 

* And is your wife very rich ? ' 

' Rich ; yes, rather ! Only she keeps the 
most of it for herself 

162 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

'But I expect you can't complain either? ' 

* Well, I 'm her husband. I 'm hardly likely 
not to get some benefit from it ! And I 'm of 
use to her. With me she can do just as she 
likes ! I 'm easy-going ! ' 

Polozov wiped his face with a silk handker- 
chief and puffed painfully, as though to say, 
' Have mercy on me ; don't force me to utter 
another word. You see how hard it is for me.' 

Sanin left him in peace, and again sank into 
meditation. 

The hotel in Wiesbaden, before which the 
carriage stopped, was exactly like a palace. 
Bells were promptly set ringing in its inmost 
recesses ; a fuss and bustle arose ; men of good 
appearance in black frock-coats skipped out at 
the principal entrance ; a door-keeper who was 
a blaze of gold opened the carriage doors with 
a flourish. 

Like some triumphant general Polozov 
alighted and began to ascend a staircase 
strewn with rugs and smelling of agreeable 
perfumes. To him flew up another man, also 
very well dressed but with a Russian face — his 
valet. Polozov observed to him that for the 
future he should always take him everywhere 
with him, for the night before at Frankfort, he, 
Polozov, had been left for the night without 
163 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

hot water ! The valet portrayed his horror on 

his face, and bending down quickly, took off 

his master's goloshes. 

' Is Maria Nikolaevna at home ? ' inquired 

Polozov. 

* Yes, sir. Madam is pleased to be dressing. 

Madam is pleased to be dining to-night at the 

Countess Lasunsky's.' 

' Ah ! there ? . . . Stay ! There are things 
there in the carnage; get them all yourself 
and bring them up. And you, Dmitri Pavlo- 
vitch,' added Polozov, ' take a room for yourself 
and come in in three-quarters of an hour. We 
will dine together.' 

Polozov waddled off, while Sanin asked for 
an inexpensive room for himself; and after 
setting his attire to rights, and resting a little, 
he repaired to the immense apartment occu- 
pied by his Serenity (Durchlaucht) Prince von 
Polozov. 

He found this * prince ' enthroned in a luxuri- 
ous velvet arm-chair in the middle of a most 
magnificent drawing-room. Sanin's phlegmatic 
friend had already had time to have a bath 
and to array himself in a most sumptuous 
satin dressing-gown ; he had put a crimson 
fez on his head. Sanin approached him and 
scrutinised him for some time. Polozov was 
sitting rigid as an idol ; he did not even turn 
164 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

his face in his direction, did not even move an 
eyebrow, did not utter a sound. It was truly 
a sublime spectacle ! After having admired 
him for a couple of minutes, Sanin was on the 
point of speaking, of breaking this hallowed 
silence, when suddenly the door from the next 
room was thrown open, and in the doorway 
appeared a young and beautiful lady in a white 
silk dress trimmed with black lace, and with 
diamonds on her arms and nqck^^ Maria 
1 N*i«olaevna Polozov. Her thick fair hairTeih 
•^on both sides of her head, braided, but not 
fastened up into a knot. 



XXXIV 

* Ah, I beg your pardon ! ' she said with a smile 
half-embarrassed, half-ironical, instantly taking 
hold of one end of a plait of her hair ai^d 
fastening on Sanin her large, grey, clear eyes. 
' I did not think you had come yet.' 

' Sanin, Dmitri Pavlovitch — known him from 
a boy,' observed Polozov, as before not turning 
towards him and not getting up, but pointing 
at him with one finger. 

' Yes. ... I know. . . . You told me before. 
Very glad to make your acquaintance. But I 
wanted to ask you, Ippolit Sidorovitch. . . . 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

My maid seems to have lost her senses to- 
day . . .' 

' To do your hair up ? ' 

' Yes, yes, please. I beg your pardon,' Maria 
Nikolaevna repeated with the same smile. She 
nodded to Sanin, and turning swiftly, vanished 
through the doorway, leaving behind her a 
fleeting but graceful impression of a charming 
neck, exquisite shoulders, an exquisite figure. 

Polozov got up, and rolling ponderously, 
went out by the same door. 

Sanin did not doubt for a single second that 
his presence in ' Prince Polozov's ' drawing- 
room was a fact perfectly well known to its 
mistress ; the whole point of her entry had 
been the display of her hair, which was cer- 
tainly beautiful. Sanin was inwardly delighted 
indeed at this freak on the part of Madame 
Polozov ; if, he thought, she is anxious to 
impress me, to dazzle me, perhaps, who 
knows, she will be accommodating about the 
price of the estate. His heart was so full of 
Gemma that all other women had absolutely 
no significance for him ; he hardly noticed 
them ; and this time he went no further than 
thinking, 'Yes, it was the truth they told me ; 
that lady's really magnificent to look at!' 

But had he not been in such an exceptional 
state of mind he would most likely have ex- 
i66 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

pressed himself differently ; Maria Nikolaevna 
Polozov, by birth Kolishkin, was a very striking 
personality. And not that she was of a beauty 
to which no exception could be taken ; traces 
of her plebeian origin were rather clearly ap- 
parent in her. Her forehead was low, her nose 
rather fleshy and turned up ; she could boast 
neither of the delicacy of her skin nor of the 
elegance of her hands and feet — but what did 
all that matter ? Any one meeting her would 
not, to use Pushkin's words, have stood still 
before ' the holy shrine of beauty,' but before 
the sorcery of a half - Russian, half- Gipsy 
woman's body in its full flower and full 
power . . . and he would have been nothing 
loath to stand still ! 

But Gemma's image preserved Sanin like 
the three-fold armour of which the poets sing. 

Ten minutes later Maria Nikolaevna ap- 
peared again, escorted by her husband. She 
went up to Sanin . . . and her walk was such 
that some eccentrics of that — alas ! — already 
distant day, were simply crazy over her walk 
alone. ' That woman, when she comes towards 
one, seems as though she is bringing all the 
happiness of one's life to meet one,' one of them 
used to say. She went up to Sanin, and hold- 
ing out her hand to him, said in her caressing 
and, as it were, subdued voice in Russian, 
167 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

' You will wait for me, won't you ? I '11 be back 
soon.' 

Sanin bowed respectfully, while Maria Niko- 
laevna vanished behind the curtain over the 
outside door ; and as she vanished turned her 
head back over her shoulder, and smiled 
again, and again left behind her the same im- 
pression of grace. 

When she smiled, not one and not two, but 
three dimples came out on each cheek, and her 
eyes smiled more than her lips — long, crimson, 
juicy lips with two tiny moles on the left side 
of them. 

Polozov waddled into the room and again 
established himself in the arm-chair. He was 
speechless as before ; but from time to time 
a queer smile puffed out his colourless and 
already wrinkled cheeks. He looked like an 
old man, though he was only three years older 
than Sanin. 

The dinner with which he regaled his guest 
would of course have satisfied the most exacting 
gourmand, but to Sanin it seemed endless, 
insupportable ! Polozov ate slowly, * with 
feeling, with judgment, with deliberation,' 
bending attentively over his plate, and sniffing 
at almost every morsel. First he rinsed his 
mouth with wine, then swallowed it and smacked 
his lips. . . . Over the roast moat he suddenly 
1 68 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

began to talk — but of what ? Of merino sheep, 
of which he was intending to order a whole 
flock, and in such detail, with such tenderness, 
using all the while endearing pet names for 
them. After drinking a cup of coffee, hot to 
boiling point (he had several times in a voice 
of tearful irritation mentioned to the waiter 
that he had been served the evening before 
with coffee, cold — cold as ice !) and bitten off 
the end of a Havannah cigar with his crooked 
yellow teeth, he dropped off, as his habit was, 
into a nap, to the intense delight of Sanin, who 
began walking up and down with noiseless 
steps on the soft carpet, and dreaming of his 
life with Gemma and of what news he would 
bring back to her. Polozov, however, awoke, 
as he remarked himself, earlier than usual — he 
had slept only an hour and a half — and after 
drinking a glass of iced seltzer water, and 
swallowing eight spoonfuls of jam, Russian 
jam, which his valet brought him in a dark- 
green genuine 'Kiev' jar, and without which, 
in his own words, he could not live, he stared 
with his swollen eyes at Sanin and asked him 
wouldn't he like to play a game of ' fools ' with 
him. Sanin agreed readily ; he was afraid 
that Polozov would begin talking again about 
lambs and ew^es and fat tails. The host and 
the visitor both adjourned to the drawing-room, 
169 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

the waiter brought in the cards, and the game 
began, not, — of course, for money. 

At this innocent diversion Maria Nikolaevna 
found them on her return from the Countess 
Lasunsky's. She laughed aloud directly she 
came into the room and saw the cards and the 
open card-table. Sanin jumped up, but she 
cried, * Sit still ; go on with the game. I '11 
change my dress directly and come back to 
you,' and vanished again with a swish of her 
dress, pulling off her gloves as she went. 

She did in fact return very soon. Her 
evening dress she had exchanged for a full 
lilac silk tea-gown, with open hanging sleeves ; 
a thick twisted cord was fastened round her 
waist. She sat down by her husband, and, 
waiting till he was left * fool,' said to him, 
' Come, dumpling, that 's enough ! ' (At the 
word 'dumpling' Sanin glanced at her in sur- 
prise, and she smiled gaily, answering his look 
with a look, and displaying all the dimples on 
her cheeks.) * I see you are sleepy ; kiss my 
hand and get along ; and Monsieur Sanin and 
I will have a chat together alone.' 

' I 'm not sleepy,' observed Polozov, getting 
up ponderously from his easy-chair ; ' but as 
for getting along, I 'm ready to get along and 
to kiss your hand.' She gave him the palm of 
her hand, still smiling and looking at Sanin. 
170 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Polozov, too, looked at him, and went away 
without taking leave of him. 

' Well, tell me, tell me,' said Maria Nikolaevna 
eagerly, setting both her bare elbows on the 
table and impatiently tapping the nails of one 
hand against the nails of the other, ' Is it true, 
they say, you are going to be married ? ' 

As she said these words, Maria Nikolaevna 
positively bent her head a little on one side so 
as to look more intently and piercingly into 
Sanin's eyes. 



XXXV 

The free and easy deportment of Madame 
Polozov would probably for the first moment 
have disconcerted Sanin — though he was not 
quite a novice and had knocked about the 
world a little — if he had not again seen in this 
very freedom and familiarity a good omen for 
his undertaking. * We must humour this rich 
lady's caprices,' he decided inwardly ; and as 
unconstrainedly as she had questioned him he 
answered, ' Yes ; I am going to be married.' 

' To whom ? To a foreigner ? ' 

'Yes.' 

' Did you get acquainted with her lately ? 
In Frankfort ? ' 

171 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* Yes.' 

* And what is she ? May I know ? ' 

* Certainly. She is a confectioner's daughter.' 
Maria Nikolaevna opened her eyes wide and 

lifted her eyebrows. 

' Why, this is delightful,' she commented in 
a drawling voice ; * this is exquisite ! I imagined 
that young men like you were not to be met 
with anywhere in these days. A confectioner's 
daughter ! ' 

* I see that surprises you,' observed Sanin 
with some dignity ; * but in the first place, I 
have none of these prejudices . . .' 

' In the first place, it doesn't surprise me in 
the least,' Maria Nikolaevna interrupted ; ' I 
have no prejudices either. I 'm the daughter 
of a peasant myself There ! what can you 
say to that ? What does surprise and delight 
me is to have come across a man who 's not 
afraid to love. You do love her, I suppose ? ' 

' Yes.' 

* Is she very pretty ? ' 

Sanin was slightly stung by this last ques- 
tion. . . . However, there was no drawing back. 

'You know, Maria Nikolaevna,' he began, 
' every man thinks the face of his beloved 
better than all others ; but my betrothed is 
really beautiful.' 

' Really ? In what style ? Italian ? antique ? ' 
172 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* Yes ; she has very regular features.' 

' You have not got her portrait with you ? ' 

* No.' (At that time photography was not 
yet talked off. Daguerrotypes had hardly 
begun to be common.) 

' What 's her name ? ' 

' Her name is Gemma.' 

'And yours?' 

' Dimitri.' 

' And your father's ? ' 

' Pavlovitch.' 

' Do you know,' Maria Nikolaevna said, still 
in the same drawling voice, ' I like you very 
much, Dimitri Pavlovitch. You must be an 
excellent fellow. Give me your hand. Let us 
be friends.' 

She pressed his hand tightly in her beautiful, 
white, strong fingers. Her hand was a little 
smaller than his hand, but much warmer and 
smoother and whiter and more full of life. 

' Only, do you know what strikes me ? ' 

•What?' 

'You won't be angry? No? You say she 
is betrothed to you. But was that . . . was 
that quite necessary?' 

Sanin frowned. * I don't understand you, 
Maria Nikolaevna.' 

Maria Nikolaevna gave a soft low laugh, and 
shaking her head tossed back the hair that was 
173 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

falling on her cheeks. ' Decidedly — he 's de- 
lightful/ she commented half pensively, half 
carelessly. * A perfect knight ! After that, 
there 's no believing in the people who main- 
tain that the race of idealists is extinct ! ' 

Maria Nikolaevna talked Russian all the 
time, an astonishingly pure true Moscow 
Russian, such as the people, not the nobles 
speak. 

' You 've been brought up at home, I expect, 
in a God-fearing, old orthodox family?' she 
queried. ' You 're from what province ? ' 

' Tula.' 

* Oh ! so we 're from the same part. My 
father ... I daresay you know who my father 
was?' 

' Yes, I know.' 

' He was born in Tula. . . . He was a Tula 
man. Well . . . well. Come, let us get to 
business now.' 

'That is . . . how come to business? What 
do you mean to say by that ? ' 

Maria Nikolaevna half-closed her eyes. 
* Why, what did you come here for ? ' (when she 
screwed up her eyes, their expression became 
very kindly and a little bantering, when she 
opened them wide, into their clear, almost cold 
brilliancy, there came something ill-natured 
. . . something menacing. Her eyes gained a 
174 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

peculiar beauty from her eyebrows, which were 
thick, and met in the centre, and had the 
smoothness of sable fur). * Don't you want me 
to buy your estate ? You want money for your 
nuptials ? Don't you ? ' 

* Yes.' 

' And do you want much ? ' 

* I should be satisfied with a few thousand 
francs at first. Your husband knows my estate. 
You can consult him — I would take a very 
moderate price.' 

Maria Nikolaevna tossed her head from left 
to right. ' In the first place, she began in 
deliberate tones, drumming with the tips of 
her fingers on the cuff of Sanin's coat, * I am 
not in the habit of consulting my husband, 
except about matters of dress — he 's my right 
hand in that ; a7id in the second place, why do 
you say that you will fix a low price ? I don't 
want to take advantage of your being very 
much in love at the moment, and ready to make 
any sacrifices. ... I won't accept sacrifices of 
any kind from you. What ? Instead of en- 
couraging you . . . come, how is one to express 
it properly ? — in your noble sentiments, eh } 
am I to fleece you ? that 's not my way. I can 
be hard on people, on occasion — only not in 
that way.' 

Sanin was utterly unable to make out 
'IS 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

whether she was laughing at him or speaking 
seriously, and only said to himself: 'Oh, I can 
see one has to mind what one 's about with you ! ' 

A man-servant came in with a Russian 
samovar, tea-things, cream, biscuits, etc., on a 
big tray ; he set all these good things on the 
table between Sanin and Madame Polozov, and 
retired. 

She poured him out a cup of tea. ' You 
don't object?' she queried, as she put sugar in 
his cup with her fingers . . . though sugar- 
tongs were lying close by. 

' Oh, please ! . . . From such a lovely 
hand . . .' 

He did not finish his phrase, and almost 
choked over a sip of tea, while she watched 
him attentively and brightly. 

* I spoke of a moderate price for my land/ 
he went on, * because as you are abroad just 
now, I can hardly suppose you have a great 
dealof cash available, and in fact, I feel myself 
that the sale . . . the purchase of my land, 
under such conditions is something exceptional, 
and I ought to take that into consideration.' 

Sanin got confused, and lost the thread of 
what he was saying, while Maria Nikolaevna 
softly leaned back in her easy-chair, folded her 
arms, and watched him with the same attentive 
bright look. He was silent at last. 
176 



^ y 

THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* Never mind, go on, go on,' she said, as it 
were coming to his aid ; ' I 'm h'stening to you. 
I like to hear you ; go on talking.' 

Sanin fell to describing his estate, how many 
acres it contained, and where it was situated, 
and what were its agricultural advantages, 
and what profit could be made from it . . . 
he even referred to the picturesque situation 
of the house ; while Maria Nikolaevna still 
watched him, and watched more and more 
intently and radiantly, and her lips faintly 
stirred, without smiling : she bit them. He felt 
awkward at last ; he was silent a second time. 

' Dimitri Pavlovitch,'began MariaNikolaevna, 
and sank into thought again. . . . ' Dimitri 
Pavlovitch,' she repeated. . . . 'Do you know 
what : I am sure the purchase of your estate 
will be a very profitable transaction for me, 
and that we shall come to terms ; but you must 
give me two days. . . . Yes, two days' grace. 
You are able to endure two days' separation 
from your betrothed, aren't you ? Longer I 
won't keep you against your will — I give you 
my word of honour. But if you want five or 
six thousand francs at once, I am ready with 
great pleasure to let you have it as a loan, and 
then we '11 settle later.' 

Sanin got up. * I must thank you, Maria 
Nikolaevna, for your kindhearted and friendly 
M 177 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

readiness to do a service to a man almost 
unknown to you. But if that is your decided 
wish, then I prefer to await your decision about 
my estate — I will stay here two days.' 

' Yes ; that is my wish, Dimitri Pavlovitch. 
And will it be very hard for you ? Very ? Tell 
me.' 

' I love my betrothed, Maria Nikolaevna, and 
to be separated from her is hard for me.' 

* Ah ! you 're a heart of gold ! ' Maria Niko- 
laevna commented with a sigh. * I promise not 
to torment you too much. Are you going ? ' 

' It is late,' observed Sanin. 

* And you want to rest after your journey, 
and your game of "fools" with my husband. 
Tell me, were you a great friend of IppoUt 
Sidoritch, my husband ? ' 

' We were educated at the same school.' 

* And was he the same then ? ' 

'The same as what?' inquired Sanin. 

Maria Nikolaevna burst out laughing, and 
laughed till she was red in the face ; she put 
her handkerchief to her lips, rose from her 
chair, and swaying as though she were tired, 
went up to Sanin, and held out her hand to 
him. 

He bowed over it, and went towards the 
door. 

* Come early to-morrow — do you hear ? ' 

178 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

she called after him. He looked back as he 
went out of the room, and saw that she had 
again dropped into an easy-chair, and flung both 
arms behind her head. The loose sleeves of 
her tea-gown fell open almost to her shoulders, 
and it was impossible not to admit that the 
pose of the arms, that the whole figure, was 
enchantingly beautiful. 



XXXVI 

Long after midnight the lamp was burning in 
Sanin's room. He sat down to the table and 
wrote to 'his Gemma.' He told her everything ; 
he described the Polozovs — husband and wife 
— but, more than all, enlarged on his own feel- 
ings, and ended by appointing a meeting with 
her in three days ! ! ! (with three marks of 
exclamation). Early in the morning he took 
this letter to the post, and went for a walk in 
the garden of the Kurhaus, where music was 
already being played. There were few people 
in it as yet ; he stood before the arbour in which 
the orchestra was placed, listened to an adap- 
tation of airs from * Robert le Diable,' and after 
drinking some coffee, turned into a solitary side 
walk, sat down on a bench, and fell into a 
reverie. The handle of a parasol gave him a 
179 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

rapid, and rather vigorous, thump on the 
shoulder. He started. . . . Before him in a 
light, grey-green barege dress, in a white tulle 
hat, and suede gloves, stood Maria Nikolaevna, 
fresh and rosy as a summer morning, though 
the languor of sound unbroken sleep had not 
yet quite vanished from her movements and 
her eyes. 

* Good-morning,' she said. * I sent after you 
to-day, but you 'd already gone out. I 've only 
just drunk my second glass — they're making 
me drink the water here, you know — whatever 
for, there's no telling . . . am I not healthy 
enough ? And now I have to walk for a whole 
hour. Will you be my companion ? And then 
we '11 have some coffee.' 

' I 've had some already,' Sanin observed, 
getting up ; * but I shall be very glad to have a 
walk with you.' 

* Very well, give me your arm then ; don't be 
afraid : your betrothed is not here — she won't 
see you.' 

Sanin gave a constrained smile. He experi- 
enced a disagreeable sensation every time Maria 
Nikolaevna referred to Gemma. However, he 
made haste to bend towards her obediently. 
. . . Maria Nikolaevna's arm slipped slowly 
and softly into his arm, and glided over it, and 
seemed to cling tight to it. 
1 80 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

' Come — this way,' she said to him, putting up 
her open parasol over her shoulder. * I 'm quite 
at home in this park ; I will take you to the 
best places. And do you know what ? (she 
very often made use of this expression), we 
won't talk just now about that sale, we '11 have 
a thorough discussion of that after lunch ; but 
you must tell me now about yourself ... so 
that I may know whom I have to do with. 
And afterwards, if you like, I will tell you 
about myself. Do you agree ? ' 

' But, Maria Nikolaevna, what interest can 
there be for you . . .' 

*Stop, stop. You don't understand me. I 
don't want to flirt with you.' Maria Nikolaevna 
shrugged her shoulders. ' He 's got a betrothed 
like an antique statue, is it likely I am going 
to flirt with him? But you've something to 
sell, and I 'm the purchaser. I want to know 
what your goods are like. Well, of course, you 
must show what they are like. I don't only 
want to know what I 'm buying, but whom I 'm 
buying from. That was my father's rule. 
Come, begin . . . come, if not from childhood 
— come now, have you been long abroad ? And 
where have you been up till now ^ Only don't 
walk so fast, we 're in no hurry.' 

' I came here from Italy, where I spent 
several months.' 

i8i 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

' Ah, you feel, it seems, a special attraction 
towards everything Italian. It's strange you 
didn't find your lady-love there. Are you fond 
of art ? of pictures ? or more of music } ' 

*I am fond of art. ... I like everything 
beautiful.' 

' And music .? ' 

' I like music too.' 

* Well, I don't at all. I don't care for any- 
thing but Russian songs — and that in the 
country and in the spring — with dancing, you 
know . . . red shirts, wreaths of beads, the 
young grass in the mea(fows,the smell of smoke 
. . . delicious ! But we weren't talking of me. 
Go on, tell me.' 

Maria Nikolaevna walked on, and kept look- 
ing at Sanin. She was tall — her face was 
almost on a level with his face. 

He began to talk — at first reluctantly, un- 
skilfully — but afterwards he talked more freely, 
chattered away in fact. Maria Nikolaevna was 
a very good listener ; and moreover she seemed 
herself so frank, that she led others uncon- 
sciously on to frankness. She possessed that 
great gift of * intimateness' — /e terrible don de 
la familiaritc — to which Cardinal Retz refers. 
Sanin talked of his travels, of his life in 
Petersburg, of his youth. . . . Had Maria 
Nikolaevna been a lady of fashion, with refined 
182 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

manners, he would never have opened out so ; 
hilt she brrseir sp^ke of hfiigelf as ajj^ood — 
fello3^,Uvho-had- no- patience with ceremony of 
any sort ; it was in those words that she char- 
acterised herself to Sanin. And at the same 
time this ' good fellow ' walked by his side with 
feline grace, slightly bending towards him, and 
peeping into his face ; and this ' good fellow ' 
walked in the form of a young feminine creature, 
full of the tormenting, fiery, soft and seductive 
charm, of which — for the undoing of us poor 
weak sinful men — only Slav natures are 
possessed, and but few of them, and those 
never of pure Slav blood, with no foreign alloy. 
Sanin's walk with INIaria Nikolaevna, Sanin's 
talk with Maria Nikolaevna lasted over an 
hour. And they did not stop once ; they kept 
walking about the endless avenues of the park, 
now mounting a hill and admiring the view as 
they went, and now going down into the 
valley, and getting hidden in the thick shadows, 
— and all the while arm-in-arm. At times 
Sanin felt positively irritated ; he had never 
walked so long with Gemma, his darling 
Gemma . . . but this lady had simply taken 
possession of him, and there was no escape ! 
* Aren't you tired?' he said to her more than 
once. ' I never get tired,' she answered. Now 
and then they met other people walking in the 
183 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

park ; almost all of them bowed — some respect- 
fully, others even cringingly. To one of them, 
a very handsome, fashionably dressed dark 
man, she called from a distance with the best 
Parisian accent, ' Comte^ vous savez, il ne faut 
pas venir me voir — ni aujourd' hui ni deinain^ 
The man took off his hat, without speaking, 
and dropped a low bow. 

' Who 's that ? ' asked Sanin with the bad 
habit of asking questions characteristic of all 
Russians. 

* Oh, a Frenchman, there are lots of them 
here . . . He's dancing attendance on me 
too. It's time for our coffee, though. Let's 
go home ; you must be hungry by this time, I 
should say. My better half must have got his 
eye-peeps open by now.' 

'Better half! Eye-peeps!' Sanin repeated 
to himself . . . ' And speaks French so well 
. . . what a strange creature ! ' 

Maria Nikolaevna was not mistaken. When 
she went back into the hotel with Sanin, her 
'better half or 'dumpling' was already seated, 
the invariable fez on his head, before a table 
laid for breakfast. 

* I 've been waiting for you ! ' he cried, making 
a sour face. ' I was on the point of having 
coffee without you.' 

184 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* Never mind, never mind,' Maria Nikolaevna 
responded cheerfully. * Are you angry ? That 's 
good for you ; without that you 'd turn into 
a mummy altogether. Here I 've brought a 
visitor. Make haste and ring ! Let us have 
coffee — the best coffee — in Saxony cups on a 
snow-white cloth ! ' 

She threw off her hat and gloves, and 
clapped her hands. 

Polozov looked at her from under his brows. 

' What makes you so skittish to-day, Maria 
Nikolaevna ? ' he said in an undertone. 

'That's no business of yours, Ippolit Sido- 
ritch ! Ring ! Dimitri Pavlovitch, sit down 
and have some coffee for the second time. 
Ah, how nice it is to give orders ! There 's no 
pleasure on earth like it ! ' 

'When you're obeyed,' grumbled her hus- 
band again. 

*Just so, when one's obeyed! That's why 
I *m so happy ! Especially with you. Isn't 
it so, dumpling ? Ah, here 's the coffee.' 

On the immense tray, which the waiter 
brought in, there lay also a playbill. Maria 
Nikolaevna snatched it up at once. 

* A drama ! ' she pronounced with indigna- 
tion, *a German drama. No matter; it's 
better than a German comedy. Order a box 
for me — baignoire — or no . . . better the 
185 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Fremden-Loge^ she turned to the waiter. 
* Do you hear : the Fremden-Loge it must 
be!' 

' But if the Fremden-Loge has been ah'eady 
taken by his excellency, the director of the 
town {seine Excellenz der Herr Stadt-Director)^' 
the waiter ventured to demur. 

* Give his excellency ten thalers, and let the 
box be mine ! Do you hear ! ' 

The waiter bent his head humbly and 
mournfully. 

* Dimitri Pavlovitch, you will go with me to 
the theatre ? the German actors are awful, but 
you will go . . . Yes ? Yes ? How obliging 
you are ! Dumpling, are you not coming? 

' You settle it,' Polozov observed into the 
cup he had lifted to his lips. 

' Do you know what, you stay at home. 
You always go to sleep at the theatre, and 
you don't understand much German. I '11 tell 
you what you 'd better do, write an answer to 
the overseer — you remember, about our mill 
. . . about the peasants' grinding. Tell him 
that I won't have it, and I won't and that 's all 
about it ! There 's occupation for you for the 
whole evening.' 

* All right,' answered Polozov. 

' Well then, that 's first - rate. You 're a 
darling. And now, gentlemen, as we have 
1 86 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

just been speaking of my overseer, let 's talk 
about our great business. Come, directly the 
waiter has cleared the table, you shall tell me 
all, Dimitri Pavlovitch, about your estate, what 
price you will sell it for, how much you want 
paid down in advance, everything, in fact ! 
(At last, thought Sanin, thank God !) You 
have told me something about it already, you 
remember, you described your garden delight- 
fully, but dumpling wasn't here. . . . Let him 
hear, he may pick a hole somewhere ! I 'm 
delighted to think that I can help you to get 
married, besides, I promised you that I would 
go into your business after lunch, and I always 
keep my promises, isn't that the truth, Ippolit 
Sidoritch?' 

Polozov rubbed his face with his open hand. 
' The truth's the truth. You don't deceive any 
one.' 

' Never ! and I never will deceive any one. 
Well, Dimitri Pavlovitch, expound the case as 
we express it in the senate.' 



XXXVIl 

Sanin proceeded to expound his case, that is 
to say, again, a second time, to describe his 
property, not touching this time on the beauties 

187 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

of nature, and now and then appealing to 
Polozov for confirmation of his * facts and 
figures.' But Polozov simply gasped and 
shook his head, whether in approval or dis- 
approval, it would have puzzled the devil, 
one might fancy, to decide. However, Maria 
Nikolaevna stood in no need of his aid. She 
exhibited commercial and administrative 
abilities that were really astonishing ! She 
was familiar with all the ins-and-outs of 
farming ; she asked questions about every- 
thing with great exactitude, went into every 
point ; every word of hers went straight to 
the root of the matter, and hit the nail on the 
head. Sanin had not expected such a close 
inquiry, he had not prepared himself for it. 
And this inquiry lasted for fully an hour and 
a half Sanin experienced all the sensations 
of the criminal on his trial, sitting on a narrow 
bench confronted by a stern and penetrating 
judge. 'Why, it's a cross-examination!' he 
murmured to himself dejectedly. Maria 
Nikolaevna kept laughing all the while, as 
though it were a joke ; but Sanin felt none 
the more at ease for that ; and when in the 
course of the * cross-examination ' it turned 
out that he had not clearly realised the exact 
meaning of the words ' repartition ' and * tilth,' 
he was in a cold perspiration all over. 
i88 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

'Well, that's all right!' Maria Nikolaevna 
decided at last. ' I know your estate now . . . 
as well as you do. What price do you suggest 
per soul? ' (At that time, as every one knows, 
the prices of estates were reckoned by the souls 
living as serfs on them.) 

* Well ... I imagine ... I could not take 
less than five hundred roubles for each,' Sanin 
articulated with difficulty. O Pantaleone, 
Pantaleone, where were you ! This was 
when you ought to have cried again, 
' Barbari ! ' 

Maria Nikolaevna turned her eyes upwards 
as though she were calculating. 

' Well ? ' she said at last. * I think there 's 
no harm in that price. But I reserved for my- 
self two days' grace, and you must wait till 
to-morrow. I imagine we shall come to an 
arrangement, and then you will tell me how 
much you want paid down. And now, basta 
cosi\ ' she cried, noticing Sanin was about to 
make some reply. ' We 've spent enough time 
over filthy lucre . . . a demain les affaires. Do 
you know what, I '11 let you go now . . . (she 
glanced at a little enamelled watch, stuck in 
her belt) ... till three o'clock ... I must let 
you rest. Go and play roulette.' 

' I never play games of chance,' observed 
Sanin. 

189 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* Really ? Why, you 're a paragon. Though 
I don't either. It's stupid throwing away one's 
money when one 's no chance. But go into the 
gambling saloon, and look at the faces. Very 
comic ones there are there. There 's one old 
woman with a rustic headband and a moustache, 
simply delicious ! Our prince there 's another, 
a good one too. A majestic figure with a nose 
like an eagle's, and when he puts down a thaler^ 
he crosses himself under his waistcoat. Read 
the papers, go a walk, do what you like, in 
fact. But at three o'clock I expect you . . . 
de pied ferine. We shall have to dine a little 
earlier. The theatre among these absurd 
Germans begins at half-past six. She held 
out her hand. ' Sans rancune^ n'est-ce pas ? ' 

* Really, Maria Nikolaevna, what reason 
have I to be annoyed ? ' 

' Why, because I 've been tormenting you. 
Wait a little, you '11 see. There 's worse to 
come,' she added, fluttering her eyelids, and all 
her dimples suddenly came out on her flushing 
cheeks. * Till we meet ! ' 

Sanin bowed and went out. A merry laugh 
rang out after him, and in the looking-glass 
which he was passing at that instant, the fol- 
lowing scene was reflected : Maria Nikolaevna 
had pulled her husband's fez over his eyes, and 
he was helplessly struggling with both hands. 
190 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 



XXXVIII 

On, what a deep sigh of delight Sanin heaved, 
when he found himself in his room ! Indeed, 
Maria Nikolaevna had spoken the truth, he 
needed rest, rest from all these new acquaint- 
ances, collisions, conversations, from this suf- 
focating atmosphere which was affecting his 
head and his heart, from this enigmatical, 
uninvited intimacy with a woman, so alien 
to him ! And when was all this taking place? 
Almost the day after he had learnt that Gemma 
loved him, after he had become betrothed to 
her. Why, it was sacrilege ! A thousand 
times he mentally asked forgiveness of his 
pure chaste dove, though he could not really 
blame himself for anything ; a thousand times 
over he kissed the cross she had given him. 
Had he not the hope of bringing the business, 
for which he had come to Wiesbaden, to a 
speedy and successful conclusion, he would 
have rushed off headlong, back again, to sweet 
Frankfort, to that dear house, now his own 
home, to her, to throw himself at her loved 
feet. . . . But there was no help for it ! The 
cup must be drunk to the dregs, he must dress, 
go to dinner, and from there to the theatre. . . . 
If only she would let him go to-morrow ! 
191 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

One other thing confounded him, angered 
him ; with love, with tenderness, with grateful 
transport he dreamed of Gemma, of their life 
together, of the happiness awaiting him in 
the future, and yet this strange woman, this 
Madame Polozov persistently floated — no ! 
not floated, poked herself, so Sanin with 
special vindictiveness expressed it — poked her- 
self \n and faced his eyes, and he could not rid 
himself of her image, could not help hearing 
her voice, recalling her words, could not help 
being aware even of the special scent, delicate, 
fresh and penetrating, like the scent of yellow 
lilies, that was wafted from her garments. This 
lady was obviously fooling him, and trying 
in every way to get over him . . . what for ? 
what did she want? Could it be merely the 
caprice of a spoiled, rich, and most likely 
unprincipled woman ? And that husband ! 
What a creature he was ! What were his 
relations with her ? And why would these 
questions keep coming into his head, when 
he, Sanin, had really no interest whatever in 
either Polozov or his wife ? Why could he 
not drive away that intrusive image, even when 
he turned with his whole soul to another image, 
clear and bright as God's sunshine? How, 
through those almost divine features, dare those 
others force themselves upon him ? And not 
192 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

only that; those other features smiled insolently 
at him. Those grey, rapacious eyes, those 
dimples, those snake-like tresses, how was it 
all that seemed to cleave to him, and to shake 
it all off, and fling it away, he was unable, 
had not the power ? 

Nonsense ! nonsense ! to-morrow it would 
all vanish and leave no trace. . . . But would 
she let him go to-morrow? 

Yes. . . . All these question he put to him- 
self, but the time was moving on to three 
o'clock, and he put on a black frockcoat and 
after a turn in the park, went in to the Polo- 
zovs ! 

He found in their drawing-room a secretary 
of the legation, a very tall light-haired Ger- 
man, with the profile of a horse, and his hair 
parted down the back of his head (at that 
time a new fashion), and . . . oh, wonder ! 
whom besides ? Von Donhof, the very officer 
with whom he had fought a few days before ! 
He had not the slightest expectation of 
meeting him there and could not help being 
taken aback. He greeted him, however. 

' Are you acquainted ? ' asked Maria Niko- 
laevna who had not failed to notice Sanin's 
embarrassment. 

'Yes ... I have already had the honour,' 
N 193 






THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

said Donhof, and bending a little aside, in an 
undertone he added to Maria Nikolaevna, with 
a smile, ' The very man . . . your compatriot 
. : . the Russian . . . ' 

* Impossible ! ' she exclaimed also in an 
undertone ; she shook her finger at him, and 
at once began to bid good-bye both to him 
and the long secretary, who was, to judge by 
every symptom, head over ears i-n love with 
her ; he positively gaped every time he looked 
at her. Donhof promptly took leave with 
amiable docility, like a friend of the family 
who understands at half a word what is ex- 
pected of him ; the secretary showed signs of 
restiveness, but Maria Nikolaevna turned him 
out without any kind of ceremony. 

'Get along to your sovereign mistress,' she said 
to him (there was at that time in Wiesbaden a 
certain princess di Monaco, who looked sur- 
prisingly like a cocottc of the poorer sort) ; Svhat 
do you want to stay with a plebeian like me 
for?' 

' Really, dear madam,' protested the luckless 
secretary, ' all the princesses in the world. . . .' 

But Maria Nikolaevna was remorseless, and 
the secretary went away, parting and all. 

Maria Nikolaevna was dressed that day very 
much ' to her advantage,' as our grandmothers 
used to say. She wore a pink glace silk dress, 
194 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

with sleeves a la Fontange, and a big diamond 
in each ear. Her eyes sparkled as much as 
her diamonds ; she seemed in a good humour 
and in high spirits. 

She made Sanin sit beside her, and began 
talking to him about Paris, where she was in- 
tending to go in a few days, of how sick she 
was of Germans, how stupid they were when 
they tried to be clever, and how inappropriately 
clever sometimes when they were stupid ; and 
suddenly, point-blank, as they say — a brUle 
pourpoint — asked him, was it true that he had 
fought a duel with the very officer who had been 
there just now, only a few days ago, on account 
of a lady? 

' How did you know that ? ' muttered Sanin, 
dumfoundered. 

* The earth is full of rumours, Dimitri Pavlo- 
vitch ; but anyway, I know you were quite 
right, perfectly right, and behaved like a 
knight. Tell me, was that lady your be- 
trothed ? ' 

Sanin slightly frowned . . . 

' There, I won't, I won't,' Maria Nikolaevna 
hastened to say. ' You don't like it, forgive 
me, I won't do it, don't be angry ! ' Polozov 
came in from the next room with a newspaper 
in his hand. * What do you want ? Or is 
dinner ready? ' 

195 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

'Dinner '11 be ready directly, but just see 
what I Ve read in the Northern Bee . . . Prince 
Gromoboy is dead.' 

Maria Nikolaevna raised her head. 

* Ah ! I wish him the joys of. Paradise ! He 
used,' she turned to Sanin, 'to fill all my rooms 
with camellias every February on my birthday. 
But it wasn't worth spending the winter in 
Petersburg for that. He must have been over 
seventy, I should say? ' she said to her husband. 

' Yes, he was. They describe his funeral in 
the paper. All the court were present. And 
here 's a poem too, of Prince Kovrizhkin's on 
the occasion.' 

'That's nice!' 

' Shall I read them ? The prince calls him 
the good man of wise counsel.' 

'No, don't. The good man of wise counsel? 
He was simply the goodman of Tatiana 
Yurevna. Come to dinner. Life is for the 
living. Dimitri Pavlovitch, your arm.' 

The dinner was, as on the day before, superb, 
and the meal was a very lively one. Maria 
Nikolaevna knew how to tell a story ... a 
rare gift in a- wonianjL_and especially in a 
Russian one ! She did not restrict herself in 
her expressions ; her countrywomen received 
particularly severe treatment at her hands. 
196 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Sanin was more than once set laughing by some 
bold and well-directed word. Above all, Maria 
,N i kCTae vn a,3a3~-'Tror-patlence -with hypocrisy, 
cant, and humbug. She discovered it almost 
everywhere 1^he,--a:s-4t~M.ere, plumed herself 
on and boasted of the humble surroundings in 
which she had begun life. She told rather queer 
anecdotes of her relations in the days of her 
childhood, spoke of herself as quite as much of 
a clodhopper as Natalya Kirilovna Narishkin. 
It became apparent to Sanin that she had been 
througSi_aLgr£aLdeal more in her time than the 
majority of women of her age. 

Pbtozov ate meditatively, drank attentively, 
and only occasionally cast first on his wife, 
then on Sanin, his lightish, dim-looking, but, 
in reality, very keen eyes. 

* What a clever darling you are ! ' cried Maria 
Nikolaevna, turning to him; *how well you 
carried out all my commissions in Frankfort ! 
I could give you a kiss on your forehead for it, 
but you 're not very keen after kisses.' 

' I 'm not,' responded Polozov, and he cut a 
pine-apple with a silver knife. 

Maria Nikolaevna looked at him and 
drummed with her fingers on the table. 

*So our bet's on, isn't it?' she said signi- 
ficantly. 

* Yes, it 's on.' 

197 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* All right. You '11 lose it' 

Polozov stuck out his chin. ' Well, this time 
you mustn't be too sanguine, Maria Nikolaevna, 
maybe you will lose.' 

'What is the bet? May I know?' asked 
Sanin. 

* No . . . not now,' answered Maria Niko- 
laevna, and she laughed. 

It struck seven. The waiter announced that 
the carriage was ready. Polozov saw his wife 
out, and at once waddled back to his easy- 
chair. 

' Mind now ! Don't forget the letter to the 
overseer,' Maria Nikolaevna shouted to him 
from the hall. 

' I '11 write, don't worry yourself. I 'm a 
business-like person.' 



XXXIX 

In the year 1840, the theatre at Wiesbaden 
was a poor affair even externally, and its com- 
pany, for affected and pitiful mediocrity, for 
studious and vulgar commonplaceness, not one 
hair's-breadth above the level, which might be 
regarded up to now as the normal one in all 
German theatres, and which has been dis- 
played in perfection lately by the company in 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Carlsruhe, under the 'illustrious' direction of 
Herr Devrient. At the back of the box taken 
for her ' Serenity Madame von Polozov ' (how 
the waiter devised the means of getting it, God 
knows, he can hardly have really bribed the 
stadt-director !) was a little room, with sofas 
all round it ; before she went into the box, 
Maria Nikolaevna asked Sanin to draw up the 
screen that shut the box off from the theatre. 

' I don't want to be seen,' she said, ' or else 
they '11 be swarming round directly, you know.' 
She made him sit down beside her with his 
back to the house so that the box seemed to 
be empty. The orchestra played the overture 
from the Marriage of Figaro. The curtain 
rose, the play began. 

It was one of those numerous home-raised 
products in which well-read but talentless 
authors, in choice, but dead language, studi- 
ously and cautiously enunciated some 'pro- 
k found ' or ' vital and palpitating ' idea, por- 
Nv trayed a so-called tragic conflict, and produced 
C_^ulness ... an Asiatic dulness, like Asiatic 
cholera. Maria Nikolaevna listened patiently 
. to half an act, but when the first lover, discover- 
\ ing the treachery of his mistress (he was dressed 
in a cinnamon-coloured coat with ' puffs ' and a 
O plush collar, a striped waistcoat with mother- 
of-pearl buttons, green trousers with straps of 
199 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

varnished leather, and white chamois leather 
gloves), when this lover pressed both fists to his 
bosom, and poking his two elbows out at an 
acute angle, howled like a dog, Maria Niko- 
laevna could not stand it. 

' The humblest French actor in the humblest 
little provincial town acts better and more 
naturally than the highest German celebrity,' 
she cried in indignation ; and she moved away 
and sat down in the little room at the back. 
* Come here,' she said to Sanin, patting the 
sofa beside her. * Let 's talk.' 

Sanin obeyed. 

Maria Nikolaevna glanced at him. ' Ah, I 
see you 're as soft as silk ! Your wife will have 
an easy time of it with you. That buffoon,' 
she went on, pointing with her fan towards the 
howling actor (he was acting the part of a 
tutor), 'reminded me of my young days; I, 
too, was in love with a teacher. It was my 
first . . . no, my second passion. The first 
time I fell in love with a young monk of the 
Don monastery. I was twelve years old. I 
only saw him on Sundays. He used to wear 
a short velvet cassock, smelt of lavender water, 
and as he made his way through the crowd 
with the censer, used to say to the ladies in 
French, '''■Pardon^ excusez" but never lifted his 
eyes, and he had eyelashes like that ! ' Maria 
200 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Nikolaevna marked off with the nail of her 
middle finger quite half the length of the little 
finger and showed Sanin. 'My tutor was 
called — Monsieur Gaston ! I must tell you he 
was an awfully learned and very severe person, 
a Swiss, — and with such an energetic face ! 
Whiskers black as pitch, a Greek profile, and 
lips that looked like cast iron ! I was afraid 
of him ! H e was the o nly man I have ever 
^^^ a fraid of ia- myJiiSn^He. was tutor to my 
brother, who died . . . was drowned. A gipsy 
woman has foretold a violent death for me 
too, but that 's all moonshine. I don't believe 
in it. Only fancy Ippolit Sidoritch with a 
dagger ! ' 

' One may die from something else than a 
dagger,' observed Sanin. 

'All that's moonshine! Are you super- 
stitious ? I 'm not a bit. What is to be, will 
be. Monsieur Gaston used to live in our 
house, in the room over my head. Sometimes 
I 'd wake up at night and hear his footstep — 
he used to go to bed very late — and my heart 
would stand still with veneration, or some 
other feeling. My father could hardly read 
and write himself, but he gave us an excellent 
education. Do you know, I learnt Latin ! ' 

' You ? learnt Latin ? ' 

' Yes ; I did. Monsieur Gaston taught me. 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

I rea d the ^ neid with him. It's a dull thing, 
but there ar^ fine passages. Do you re- 
member wh en Dido_j .nd ^neas are in the 

'Yes, yes, I remember/ Sanin answered 
hurriedly. He had long ago forgotten all his 
Latin, and had only very faint notions about 
the u!^neid. 

Maria Nikolaevna glanced at him, as her 
way was, a little from one side and looking 
upwards. * Don't imagine, though, that I am 
very learned. Mercy on us ! no ; I 'm not 
learned, and I Ve no talents of any sort. I 
scarcely know how to write . . . really ; I can't 
read aloud ; nor play the piano, nor draw, nor 
sew — nothing ! That 's what I am — there you 
have me ! ' 

She threw out her hands. ' I tell you all 
this,' she said, 'first, so as not to hear those 
fools (she pointed to the stage where at that 
instant the actor's place was being filled by an 
actress, also howling, and also with her elbows 
projecting before her) and secondly, because 
I 'm in your debt ; you told me all about your- 
self yesterday.' 

' It was your pleasure to question me,' ob- 
served Sanin. 

Maria Nikolaevna suddenly turned to him. 
' And it 's not your pleasure to know just what 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

sort of woman I am ? I can't wonder at it, 
though,' she went on, leaning back again on 
the sofa cushions. * A man just going to be 
married, and for love, and after a duel. . . . 
What thoughts could he have for anything else ? ' 

Maria Nikolaevna relapsed into dreamy 
silence, and began biting the handle of her fan 
with her big, but even, milkwhite teeth. 

And Sanin felt mounting to his head again 
that intoxication which he had not been able 
to get rid of for the last two days. 

The conversation between him and Maria 
Nikolaevna was carried on in an undertone, 
alVnost in a whisper, and this irritated and 
disturbed him the more. . . . 

When would it all end ? ^„_/ 

\¥^ff1r"peOph^tiever |)ut an, end to things / 
themselvfisbrr-lhey always wait for theerrd-. ' 

Some one sneezed on the stage ; this sneeze "^^ 
had been put into the play by the author as 
the 'comic relief or ' element ' ; there was cer- 
tainly no other comic element in it ; and the 
audience made the most of it ; they laughed. 

This laugh, too, jarred upon Sanin. 
/ There were moments when he actually did 
not know whether he was furious or delighted, 
bored or amused. Oh, if Gemma could have 
seen him ! 



203 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

' It 's really curious,' Maria Nikolaevna began 
all at once. ' A man informs one and in such 
a calm voice, " I am going to get married " ; 
but no one calmly says to one, " I 'm going to 
throw myself in the water." And yet what 
difference is there? It 's curious, really.' 

Annoyance got the upper hand of Sanin. 
' There 's a great difference, Maria Nikolaevna ! 
It's not dreadful at all to throw oneself in 
the water if one can swim ; and besides ... as 
to the strangeness of marriages, if you come to 
that . . .' 

He stopped short abruptly and bit his tongue. 

Maria Nikolaevna slapped her open hand 
with her fan. 

* Go on, Dimitri Pavlovitch, go on — I know 
what you were going to say. " If it comes 
to that, my dear madam, Maria Nikolaevna 
Polozov," you were going to say, "anything 
more curious than your marriage it would be 
impossible to conceive. ... I know your hus- 
band well, from a child ! " That 's what you 
were going to say, you who can swim ! ' 

'Excuse me,' Sanin was beginning. . . . 

'Isn't it the truth? Isn't it the truth?' 
Maria Nikolaevna pronounced insistently. 
* Come, look me in the face and tell me I was 
wrong ! ' 

Sanin did not know what to do with his eyes. 
204 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* Well, if you like ; it 's the truth, if you 
absolutely insist upon it,' he said at last. 

Maria Nikolaevna shook her head. * Quite 
so, quite so. Well, and did you ask yourself, 
you who can swim, what could be the reason of 
Such a strange . . . step on the part of a 
w^rmafty aQt-pDoc--. . . ami not a fool . . . and 
not ugly? AH that does not interest you, 
perhaps, but no matter. I '11 tell you the reason 
not this minute, but directly the entracte is 
over. I am in continual uneasiness for fear 
some one should come in. . . .' 

Maria Nikolaevna had hardly uttered this 
last word when the outer door actually was 
half opened, and into the box was thrust a 
head — red, oily, perspiring, still young, but 
toothless ; with sleek long hair, a pendent 
nose, huge ears like a bat's, with gold spec- 
tacles on inquisitive dull eyes, and a pince-nez 
over the spectacles. The head looked round, 
saw Maria Nikolaevna, gave a nasty grin, 
nodded. ... A scraggy neck craned in after 
it. . . . 

Maria Nikolaevna shook her handkerchief 
at it. * I 'm not at home ! Ich bi?i nicht zu 
Hause^ Herr P. , . . ! Ich bin nicht zu Hause. 
. . . Ksh-sh ! ksh-sh-sh ! ' 

The head was disconcerted, gave a forced 
laugh, said with a sort of sob, in imitation 
205 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

of Liszt, at whose feet he had once reverently 
grovelled, ' Sehr gut, sehr gutV and vanished. 

* What is that object ? ' inquired Sanin. 

* Oh, a Wiesbaden critic, A literary man or 
a flunkey, as you like. He is in the pay of a 
local speculator here, and so is bound to praise 
everything and be ecstatic over every one, 
though for his part he is soaked through and 
through with the nastiest venom, to which he 
does not dare to give vent. I am afraid he 's 
an awful scandalmonger ; he '11 run at once to 
tell every one I 'm in the theatre. Well, what 
does it matter ? ' 

The orchestra played through a waltz, the 
curtain floated up again. . . . The grimacing 
and whimpering began again on the stage. 

' Well,' began Maria Nikolaevna, sinking 
again on to the sofa. ' Since you are here and 
obliged to sit v» ' me, instead of enjoying the 
society of yo uetrothed — don't turn away 
your eyes ana get cross — I understand you, 
and have promised already to let you go to the 
other end of the earth — but now hear my con- 
fession. Do you care to know what I like 
more than anything?' 

* Freedom,' hazarded Sanin. 

Maria Nikolaevna laid her hand on his hand. 

* Yes, Dimitri Pavlovitch,' she said, and in 
her voice there was a note of something special, 

206 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

a sort of unmistakable sincerity and gravity, 
* freedom, more than all and before all. And 
don't imagine I am boasting of this — there is 
nothing praiseworthy in it ; only it 's so and 
always will be so with me to the day of my 
death. I suppose it must have been that I 
saw a great deal of slavery in my childhood 
and suffered enough from it. Yes, and Monsieur 
Gaston, my tutor, opened my eyes too. Now 
you can, perhaps, understand why I married 
Ippolit Sidoritch : with him I 'm free, perfectly 
free as air, as the wind. . . . And I knew that --^^2^ 
before marriagej,..J— ImeXVlhat 'With him I -^ 
should-45C"atreeCossack ! ' ' 

Maria Nikolaevna paused and flung her fan 
aside. 

^^* I will tell you one_thing more; I -ha.ve no 
distaste for reflection ... it 's amusing, and "**** 
indeed our brains are given us for that ; but on 
the consequences of what I do Ijnever reflect, 
and if j_suffer I don't pity myself — not a little 
bit; it's not worth it. I have a favourite 
saying : Cela ne tire pas a consequence, — I don't 
know how to say that in Russian. And after 
all, what does tire a consequence} I shan't be 
asked to give an account of myself here, you 
see — in this world ; and up there (she pointed 
upwards with her finger), well, up there — let 
them manage as best they can. When they 
207 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

come to judge me up there, / shall not 
be/! Are you listening to me? Aren't you 
bored ? ' 

Sanin was sitting bent up. He raised his 
head. * I 'm not at all bored, Maria Nikolaevna, 
and I am listening to you with curiosity. Only 
I . . . confess ... I wonder why you say all 
this to me ? ' 

Maria Nikolaevna edged a little away on the 
sofa. 

' You wonder ? . . . Are you slow to guess ? 
Or so modest?' 

Sanin lifted his head higher than before. 

* I tell you all this,' Maria Nikolaevna con- 
tinued in an unmoved tone, which did not, 
however, at all correspond with the expression 
of her face, * because I like you very much ; 
yes, don't be surprised, I 'm not joking ; 
because since I have met you, it would be 
painful to me that you had a disagreeable 
recollection of me . . . not disagreeable even, 
that I shouldn't mind, but untrue. That 's why 
I have made you come here, and am staying 
alone with you and talking to you so openly. 
. . . Yes, yes, openly. I 'm not telling a lie. 
And observe, Dimitri Pavlovitch, I know you 're 
in love with another woman, that you 're going 
to be married to her. . . . Do justice to my 
disinterestedness ! Though indeed it 's a good 
208 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

opportunity for you to say in your turn : Ccla 
ne tire pas a conscquejice ! ' 

She laughed, but her laugh suddenly broke 
off, and she stayed motionless, as though her 
own words had suddenly struck her, and in 
her eyes, usually so gay and bold, there was a 
gleam of something like timidity, even like 
sadness. 

' Snake ! ah, she 's a snake ! ' Sanin was 
thinking meanwhile ; * but what a lovely snake 1 ' 

' Give me my opera-glass,' Maria Nikolaevna 
said suddenly. * I want to see whether this 
jeime premiere really is so ugly. Upon my 
word, one might fancy the government ap- 
pointed her in the interests of morality, so 
that the young men might not lose their heads 
over her.' 

Sanin handed her the opera-glass, and as 
she took it from him, swiftly, but hardly 
audibly, she snatched his hand in both of hers. 

' Please don't be serious,' she whispered with 
a smile. * Do you know what, no one can put 
fetters on me, but then you see I put no fetters 
on others. I love freedom, and I don't ac- 
knowledge duties — not only for myself. Now 
move to one side a little, and let us listen to 
the play.' 

Maria Nikolaevna turned her opera-glass 
upon the stage, and Sanin proceeded to look 
o 209 



THE TORRENTS Cx" SPRING 

in the same direction, sitting beside her in the 
half dark of the box, and involuntarily drinking 
in the warmth and fragrance of her luxurious 
body, and as involuntarily turning over and 
over in his head all she had said during the 
evening — especially during the last minutes. 



XL 

The play lasted over an hour longer, but 
Maria Nikolaevna and Sanin soon gave up 
looking at the stage. A conversation sprang 
up between them again, and went on the same 
lines as before ; only this time Sanin was less 
silent. Inwardly he was angry with himself 
and with Maria Nikolaevna ; he tried to prove 
to her all the inconsistency of her ' theory,' as 
though she cared for theories ! He began 
arguing with her, at which she was secretly 
rejoiced ; if a man argues, it means that he is 
giving in or will give in. He had taken the 
bait, was giving way, had left off keeping shyly 
aloof! She retorted, laughed, agreed, mused 
dreamily, attacked him . . . and meanwhile his 
face and her face were close together, his eyes 
no longer avoided her eyes. . . . Those eyes of 
hers seemed to ramble, seemed to hover over 
his features, and he smiled in response to them 

2IO 



THE TQBtAENTS OF SPRING 

— a smile of civility, but still a smile. It was 
so much gained for her that he had gone off 
into abstractions, that he was discoursing upon 
truth in personal relations, upon duty, the 
sacredness of love and marriage. ... It is 
well known that these- abstract propositions 
serve admtfaBIy as a beginning ... as a 
starting-point. ... 

People who knew Maria Nikolaevna well 
used to maintain that when her strong and 
vigorous personality showed signs of something 
soft and modest, something almost of maidenly 
shamefacedness, though one wondered where 
she could have got it from . . . then . . . 
then, thi ngs \v ere taking a dangerous turn. 

Things had apparently taken such a turn for 
Sanin. . . . He would have felt contempt for 
himself, if he could have succeeded in concen- 
trating his attention for one instant ; but he 
had not time to concentrate his mind nor to 
despise himself. 

She wasted no time. And it all came from 
his being so very good-looking ! One can but 
exclairn, No man knows what may be his 
making or his undoing ! 

The play was over. Maria Nikolaevna asked 
Sanin to put on her shawl and did not stir, while 
he wrapped the soft fabric round her really 
queenly shoulders. Then she took his arm, 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

went out into the corridor, and almost cried out 
aloud. At the very door of the box Donhof 
sprang up like some apparition ; while behind 
his back she got a glimpse of the figure of the 
Wiesbaden critic. The 'literary man's' oily 
face was positively radiant with malignancy. 

' Is it your wish, madam, that I find you 
your carriage ? ' said the young officer address- 
ing Maria Nikolaevna with a quiver of ill- 
disguised fury in his voice. 

' No, thank you,' she answered . . . ' my 
man will find it. Stop ! ' she added in an im- 
perious whisper, and rapidly withdrew drawing 
Sanin along with her. 

' Go to the devil ! Why are you staring at 
me ? ' Donhof roared suddenly at the literary 
man. He had to vent his feelings upon some 



one 



^ Sehr gut ! sehrgut!' muttered the literary 
man, and shuffled off. 

Maria Nikolaevna's footman, waiting for her 
in the entrance, found her carriage in no time. 
She quickly took her seat in it ; Sanin leapt in 
after her. The doors were slammed to, and 
Maria Nikolaevna exploded in a burst of 
laughter. 

' What are you laughing at ? ' Sanin inquired. 

* Oh, excuse me, please . . . but it struck 
me : what if Donhof were to have another duel 

212 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

with you ... on my account .... wouldn't 
that be wonderful ? ' 

* Are you very great friends with him ? ' Sanin 
asked. 

'With him? that hoy^ Hejsi one of my 

follower s. You n eedn't trouble yourself about 
him!'"' 

' Oh, I 'm not troubling myself at all.' 

Maria Nikolaevna sighed. ' Ah, I know 
you're not. But listen, do you know what, 
you 're such a darling, you mustn't refuse me 
one last request. Remember in three days' 
time I am going to Paris, and you are returning 
to Frankfort. . . . Shall we ever meet again ? ' 

' What is this request ? ' 

' You can ride, of course ? ' 

'Yes.' 

' Well, then, to-morrow morning I '11 take you 
with me, and we '11 go a ride together out of the 
town. We'll have splendid horses. Then we '11 
come home, wind up our business, and amen ! 
Don't be surprised, don't tell me it 's a caprice, 
and I 'm a madcap — all that 's very likely — but 
simply say, I consent.' 

Maria Nikolaevna turned her face towards 
him. It was dark in the carriage, but her eyes 
glittered even in the darkness. 

'Very well, I consent,' said Sanin with a 
sigh. 

213 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* Ah ! You sighed ! ' Maria Nikolaevna 
mimicked him. * That means to say, as 
you Ve begun, you must go on to the bitter 
end. But no, no. . . . You 're charming, you 're 
good, and I '11 keep my promise. Here 's my 
hand, without a glove on it, the right one, for 
business. Take it, and have faith in its 
pressure. What sort of a woman I am, I don't 
know ; but I 'm an honest fellow, and one can 
do business with me.' 

Sanin, without knowing very well what he 
was doing, lifted the hand to his lips. Maria 
Nikolaevna softly took it, and was suddenly 
still, and did not speak again till the carriage 
stopped. 

She began getting out. . . . What was it ? 
Sanin's fancy? or did he really feel on his 
cheek a swift burning kiss ? 

* Till to-morrow ! ' whispered Maria Niko- 
laevna on the steps, in the light of the four 
tapers of a candelabrum, held up on her appear-, 
ance by the gold-laced door-keeper. She kept 
her eyes cast down. ' Till to-morrow ! ' 

When he got back to his room, Sanin found 
on the table a letter from Gemma. Haielt"cn 
T'' momentary dismay ,„and at once madeiiaste to 
^^^[jCfijoice over it to disguise his dismay from him- 
self. It consisted of a few lines. She was 
delighted at the * successful opening of negotia- 
214 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

tions,' advised him to be patient, and added 
that all at home were well, and were already- 
rejoicing at the prospect of seeing him back 
again. ^ San inJ^lt t^^*^ ^^**^*Ty?^^ryf]ft; he took 
pen and paper, however . . . and threw it all 
aside agarn."*'-HV4t3r write ? I shall be back 
myselfJiiTxnofrow'TT'rit 's high time ! ' 

He went to bed immediately, and tried to get 
to sleep as quickly as possible. If he had 
stayed up and remained on his legs, he would 
certainly have begun thinking about Gemma, 
and he was for some reason . . . ashamed to 
think of her. His conscience was stirring 
within him. But he consoled himself with the 
reflection that to-morrow it would all be over 
for ever, and he would take leave for good of 
this feather-brained lady, and would forget all 
this rotten idiocy ! . . . 

Weak — peoples-ill their mentah" colloquies, 
eagerly make use of strong expressions. 

Et puis ... cela ne tire pas A consequence ! 



XLI 

Such were Sanin's thoughts, as he went to 
bed ; but what he thought next morning when 
Maria Nikolaevna knocked impatiently at his 
door with the coral handle of her riding-whip. 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

when he saw her in the doorway, with the train 
of a dark-blue riding habit over her arm, with 
a man's small hat on her thickly coiled curls, 
with a veil thrown back over her shoulder, 
with a smile of invitation on her lips, in her 
eyes, over all her face — what he thought then 
— history does not record. 

*Well? are you ready?' rang out a joyous 
voice. 

Sanin buttoned his coat, and took his hat in 
silence. Maria Nikolaevna flung him a bright 
look, nodded to him, and ran swiftly down the 
staircase. And he ran after her. 

The horses were already waiting in the street 
at the steps. There were three of them, a 
golden chestnut thorough-bred mare,with a thin- 
lipped mouth, that showed the teeth, with black 
prominent eyes, and legs like a stag's, rather 
thin but beautifully shaped, and full of fire and 
spirit, for Maria Nikolaevna ; a big, powerful, 
rather thick-set horse, raven black all over, for 
Sanin ; the third horse was destined for the 
groom. Maria Nikolaevna leaped adroitly on 
to her mare, who stamped and wheeled round, 
lifting her tail, and sinking on to her haunches. 
But Maria Nikolaevna, ~WlTO-Tva^~^r-first-r-ate 
horse-woman, reined her in ; they had to take 
leave of Polozov, who in his inevitable fez and 
in an open dressing-gown, came out on to the 
216 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

balcony, and from there waved a batiste hand- 
kerchief, without the faintest smile, rather a 
frown, in fact, on his face. Sanin too mounted 
his horse ; Maria Nikolaevna saluted Polozov 
with her whip, then gave her mare a lash with 
it on her arched and flat neck. The mare 
reared on her hind legs, made a dash forward, 
moving with a smart and shortened step, quiver- 
ing in every sinew, biting the air and snorting 
abruptly. Sanin rode behind, and looked at 
Maria Nikolaevna ; her slender supple figure, 
moulded by close-fitting but easy stays, swayed 
to and fro with self-confident grace and skill. 
She turned her head and beckoned him with 
her eyes alone. He came alongside of her. 

' See now, how delightful it is,' she said. ' I 
tell you at the last, before parting, you are 
charming, and you shan't regret it' 

As she uttered those last words, she nodded 
her head several times as if to confirm them 
and make him feel their full weight. 

She seemed so happy that Sania was simply 
astonished ; her face even wore at times that 
sedate expression which children sometimes 
have when they are very . . . very much 
pleased. 

They rode at a walking pace for the short 
distance to the city walls, but then started off 
at a vigorous gallop along the high road. It 
217 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

was magnificent, real summer weather ; the 
wind blew in their faces, and sang and whistled 
sweetly in their ears. They felt very happy ; 
the sense of youth, health and life, of free eager 
onward motion, gained possession of both ; it 
grew stronger every instant. 

Maria Nikolaevna reined in her mare, and 
again went at a walking pace ; Sanin followed 
her example. 

'This,' she began with a deep blissful sigh, 
'this now is the only thing worth living for. 
When you succeed in doing what you want to, 
what seemed impossible — come, enjoy it, heart 
and soul, to the last drop ! ' She passed her 
hand across her throat. * And how good and 
kind one feels oneself then ! I now, at this 
moment . . . how good I feel ! I feel as if I 
could embrace the whole world ! No, not the 
whole world. . . . That man now I couldn't.' 
She pointed with her whip at a poorly dressed 
old man who was stealing along on one side. 
* But I am ready to make him happy. Here, 
take this,' she shouted loudly in German, and 
she flung a net purse at his feet. The heavy 
little bag (leather purses were not thought of at 
that time) fell with a ring on to the road. The 
old man was astounded, stood still, while Maria 
Nikolaevna chuckled, and put her mare into a 
gallop. 

218 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

'Do you enjoy riding so much?' Sanin 
asked, as he overtook her. 

Maria Nikolaevna reined her mare in once 
more : only in this way could she bring her to 
a stop. 

* I only wanted to get away from thanks. 
If any one thanks me, he spoils my pleasure. 
You see I didn't do that for his sake, but for 
my own. How dare he thank me ? I didn't 
hear what you asked me.' 

* I asked ... I wanted to know what makes 
you so happy to-day.' 

' Do you know what,' said Maria Nikolaevna ; 
either she had again not heard Sanin's ques- 
tion, or she did not consider it necessary to 
answer it. * I 'm awfully sick of that groom, 
who sticks up there behind us, and most likely 
does nothing but wonder when we gentlefolks 
are going home again. How shall we get rid 
of him ? ' She hastily pulled a little pocket- 
book out of her pocket. ' Send him back to 
the town with a note ? No . . . that won't do. 
Ah ! I have it ! What 's that in front of us ? 
Isn't it an inn? ' 

Sanin looked in the direction she pointed. 
* Yes, I believe it is an inn.' 

'Well, that's first-rate. I '11 tell him to stop 
at that inn and drink beer till we come back.' 

* But what will he think ? ' 

219 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

'What does it matter to us? Besides, he 
won't think at all ; he '11 drink beer — that 's all. 
Come, Sanin (it was the first time she had used 
his surname alone), on, gallop ! ' 

When they reached the inn, Maria Niko- 
laevna called the groom up and told him what 
she wished of him. The groom, a man of 
English extraction and English temperament, 
raised his hand to the beak of his cap without 
a word, jumped off his horse, and took him by 
the bridle. 

' Well, now we are free as the birds of the 
air ! ' cried Maria Nikolaevna. * Where shall 
we go. North, south, east, or west .-* Look — 
I 'm like the Hungarian king at his coronation 
(she pointed her whip in each direction in turn). 
All is ours ! No, do you know what : see, those 
glorious mountains — and that forest ! Let 's 
go there, to the mountains, to the mountains ! ' 

' In die Berge zuo die Freihcit thro7it ! ' 

She turned off the high-road and galloped 
along a narrow untrodden track, which certainly 
seemed to lead straight to the hills. Sanin 
galloped after her. 

XLII 

This track soon changed into a tiny footpath, 

and at last disappeared altogether, and was 

220 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

crossed by a stream. Sanin counselled turning 
back, but Maria Nikolaevna said, ' No ! I want 
to get to the mountains ! Let 's go straight, 
as the birds fly,' and she made her mare leap 
the stream. Sanin leaped it too. Beyond the 
stream began a wide meadow, at first dry, then 
wet, and at last quite boggy ; the water oozed 
up everywhere, and stood in pools in some 
places. Maria Nikolaevna rode her mare 
straight through these pools on purpose, 
laughed, and said, 'Let's be naughty children.' 

*Do you know,' she asked Sanin, 'what is 
meant by pool-hunting ? ' 

* Yes,' answered Sanin. 

' I had an uncle a huntsman,' she went on. 
' I used to go out hunting with him — in the 
spring. It was delicious ! Here we are now, 
on the pools with you. Only, I see, you 're a 
Russian, and yet mean to marry an Italian. 
Well, that's your sorrow. What's that? A 
stream again ! Gee up ! ' 

The horse took the leap, but Maria Niko- 
laevna's hat fell off her head, and her curls 
tumbled loose over her shoulders. Sanin was 
just going to get off his horse to pick up the 
hat, but she shouted to him, ' Don't touch it, 
I '11 get it myself,' bent low down from the 
saddle, hooked the handle of her whip into the 
veil, and actually did get the hat. She put it 

221 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

on her head, but did not fasten up her hair, 
and again darted off, positively holloaing. 
Sanin dashed along beside her, by her side 
leaped trenches, fences, brooks, fell in and 
scrambled out, flew down hill, flew up hill, and 
kept watching her face. What a face it was ! 
It was all, as it were, wide open : wide-open 
eyes, eager, bright, and wild ; lips, nostrils, 
open too, and breathing eagerly ; she looked 
straight before her, and it seemed as though 
that soul longed to master everything it saw, 
the earth, the sky, the sun, the air itself; 
and would complain of one thing only — that 
dangers were so few, and all she could over- 
come. 'Sanin!' she cried, 'why, this is like 
Burger's Lenore ! Only you 're not dead — eh ? 
Not dead ... I am alive ! ' She let her force 
and daring have full fling. It seemed not an 
Amazon on a galloping horse, but a young 
female centaur at full speed, half-beast and half- 
god, and the sober, well-bred country seemed 
astounded, as it was trampled underfoot in her 
wild riot! 

Maria Nikolaevna at last drew up her foam- 
ing and bespattered mare ; she was staggering 
under her, and Sanin's powerful but heavy 
horse was gasping for breath. 

* Well, do you like it ? ' Maria Nikolaevna 
asked in a sort of exquisite whisper. 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* I like it ! ' Sanin echoed back ecstatically. 
And his blood was on fire. 

' This isn't all, wait a bit/ She held out her 
hand. Her glove was torn across. 

' I told you I would lead you to the forest, 
to the mountains. . . . Here they are, the 
mountains ! ' The mountains, covered with 
tall forest, rose about two hundred feet from 
the place they had reached in their wild ride. 
' Look, here is the road ; let us turn into it — 
and forwards. Only at a walk. We must let 
our horses get their breath.' 

They rode on. With one vigorous sweep of 
her arm Maria Nikolaevna flung back her hair. 
Then she looked at her gloves and took them 
off. ' My hands will smell of leather,' she said, 
' you won't mind that, eh ? ' . . . Maria Niko- 
laev;Ti,a_smile.d^. and Sanin smiled toa Their 
rnad gallop together seemed to have finally 
brought them together and made them friends. 

' How old are you ? ' she asked suddenly. 

* Twenty-two.' 

' Really ? I'm twenty-two too. A nice age. 
Add both together and you 're still far off old 
age. It'sfept, though. Am I very red, eh?' 

' Like a poppy ! ' 

Maria Nikolaevna rubbed her face with 
her handkerchief. 'We've only to get to 
the forest and there it will be cool. Such an 
223 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

old forest is like an old friend. Have you any 
friends ? ' 

Sanin thought a little. ' Yes . . . only few. 
No real ones.' 

' I have ; real ones — but not old ones. This 
is a friend too — a horse. How carefully it 
carries one ! Ah, but it 's splendid here ! Is it 
possible I am going to Paris the day after 
to-morrow ? ' 

*Yes ... is it possible,'*' Sanin chimed in. 

* And you to Frankfort ? ' 

* I am certainly going to Frankfort.' 

'Well, what of it? Good luck go with 
you ! Anyway, to-day 's ours . . . ours . . . 
ours ! ' 

The horses reached the forest's edge and 
pushed on into the forest. The broad soft 
shade of the forest wrapt them round on all 
sides. 

* Oh, but this is paradise ! ' cried Maria Niko- 
laevna. * Further, deeper into the shade, 
Sanin ! ' 

The horses moved slowly on, ' deeper into 
the shade,' slightly swaying and snorting. The 
path, by which they had come in, suddenly 
turned off and plunged into a rather narrow 
gorge. The smell of heather and bracken, of the 
resin of the pines, and the decaying leaves of last 
224 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

year, seemed to hang, close and drowsy, about 
it. Through the clefts of the big brown rocks 
came strong currents of fresh air. On both 
sides of the path rose round hillocks covered 
with green moss. 

' Stop ! ' cried Maria Nikolaevna, ' I want to 
sit down and rest on this velvet. Help me to 
get off' 

Sanin leaped off his horse and ran up to 
her. She leaned on both his shoulders, sprang 
instantly to the ground, and seated herself on 
one of the mossy mounds. He stood before 
her, holding both the horses' bridles in his 
hand. 

She lifted her eyes to him. . . . ' Sanin, are 
you able to forget ^ ' 

Sanin recollected what had happened yester- 
day ... in the carriage. ' What is that — a 
question ... or a reproach ? ' 

' I have never in my life reproached any one 
for anything. Do you believe in magic ? ' 

'What?' 

* In magic ? — you know what is sung of in 
our ballads — our Russian peasant ballads ? ' 

* Ah ! That 's what you 're speaking of,' 
Sanin said slowly. 

'Yes, that's it. I believe in it . . . and you 
will believe in it' 

' Magic is sorcery . . .' Sanin repeated, 
p 225 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

* Anything in di^., wor-ki- is .^^ossible. I used 
^Jtairio believe in it-::^biit_I_do now. I don't 
know myself.' 

Maria Nikolaevna thought a moment and 
looked about her. ' I fancy this place seems 
familiar to me. Look, Sanin, behind that 
bushy oak — is there a red wooden cross, or 
not?' 

Sanin moved a few steps to one side. 'Yes, 
there is.' Maria Nikolaevna smiled. 'Ah, that 's 
good ! I know where we are. We haven't got 
lost as yet. What 's that tapping ? A wood- 
cutter ? ' 

Sanin looked into the thicket. 'Yes . . . 
there's a man there chopping up dry branches.' 

' I must put my hair to rights,' said Maria 
Nikolaevna. ' Else he '11 see me and be shocked.' 
She took off her hat and began plaiting up her 
long hair, silently and seriously. Sanin stood 
facing her . . . All the lines of her graceful 
limbs could be clearly seen through the dark 
folds of her habit, dotted here and there with 
tufts of moss. 

One of the horses suddenly shook itself 
behind Sanin's back ; he himself started and 
trembled from head to foot. Everything was 
in confusion within him, his nerves were strung 
up like harpstrings. He might well say he did 
not know himself. . . . He really was be- 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

witched. His whole being was filled full of one 
thing . . . one idea, one desire. Maria Niko- 
laevna turned a keen look upon him. 

* Come, now everything 's as it should be,' 
she observed, putting on her hat. ' Won't you 
sit down ? Here ! No, wait a minute . . . 
don't sit down ! What 's that ? ' 

Over the tree-tops, over the air of the forest, 
rolled a dull rumbling. 
'Can it be thunder?' 

* I think it really is thunder,' answered 
Sanin. 

* Oh, this is a treat, a real treat ! That was 
the only thing wanting ! ' The dull rumble was 
heard a second time, rose, and fell in a crash. 
* Bravo ! Bis 1 Do you remember I spoke of the 
^;r^/^yesterday ? TAey too were overtaken by 
a storm in the forest, you know. We must be 
off, though.' She rose swiftly to her feet. 
' Bring me my horse. . . . Give me your hand. 
There, so. I 'm not heavy.' 

She hopped like a bird into the saddle. 
Sanin too mounted his horse. 

' Are you going home ? ' he asked in an 
unsteady voice. 

* Home indeed ! ' she answered deliberately 
and picked up the reins. * Follow me,' she 
commanded almost roughly. She came out 
on to the road and passing the red cross, rode 

227 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

down into a hollow, clambered up again to a 
cross road, turned to the right and again up 
the mountainside. . . . She obviously knew 
where the path led, and the path led farther 
and farther into the heart of the forest. She 
said nothing and did not look round ; she moved 
imperiously in front and humbly and submis- 
sively he followed without a spark of will in 
"His sinking heart. Rain began to fall in spots. 
She quickened her horse's pace, and he did not 
linger behind her. At last through the dark 
green of the young firs under an overhanging 
grey rock, a tumbledown little hut peeped 
out at him, with a low door in its wattle 
wall. . . . Maria Nikolaevna made her mare 
push through the fir bushes, leaped off 
her, and appearing suddenly at the en- 
trance to the hut, turned to Sanin, and whis- 
pered 'JEnea.s.' 

Four hours later, Maria Nikolaevna and 
Sanin, accompanied by the groom, who was 
nodding in the saddle, returned to Wiesbaden, 
to the hotel. Polozov met his wife with the 
letter to the overseer in his hand. After 
staring rather intently at her, he showed signs 
of some displeasure on his face, and even 
muttered, ' You don't mean to say you 've 

won your bet?' - - - """ 

228 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

Maria Nikolaevna simply shrugged her 
shoulders. 

The same day, two hours later, Sanin was 
standing in his own room before her, like one 
distraught, ruined. . . . 

' Where are you going, dear ? ' she asked 
him. ' To Paris, or to Frankfort ? ' 

' I am going where you will be, and will be 
with you till you drive me away,' he answered 
with despair and pressed close to him the 
hands of his sovereign. She freed her hands, 
laid them on his head, and clutched at his hair 
with her fingers. She slowly turned over and 
twisted the unresisting hair, drew herself up, 
her lips curled with triumph, while her eyes, 
wide and clear, almost white, expressed nothing 
but the ruthlessness and glutted joy of con- 
quest The hawk, as it clutches a captured 
bird, has eyes like that 



XLIII 

This was what Dimitri Sanin remembered 
when in the stillness of his room turning over 
his old papers he found among them a garnet 
cross. The events we have described rose 
clearly and consecutively before his mental 
229 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

vision. . . . But when he reached the moment 
when he addressed that humiliating prayer to 
Madame Polozov, when he grovelled at her 
feet, when his slavery began, he averted his 
gaze from the images he had evoked, he tried 
to recall no more, And not that his memory 
failed him, oh no 1 he knew only too well what 
followed upon that moment, but he was stifled 
by shame, even now, so many years after ; he 
dreaded that feeling of self-contempt, which 
he knew for certain would overwhelm him, 
and like a torrent, flood all other feelings if he 
did not bid his memory be still. But try as he 
would to turn away from these memories, he 
could not stifle them entirely. He remembered 
the scoundrelly, tearful, lying, pitiful letter he 
had sent to Gemma, that never received an 
answer. . . . See her again, go back to her, 
after such falsehood, such treachery, no ! no ! 
he could not, so much conscience. and- holTesty 
was left in him. Moreover, he had lost every 
trace of confidence in himself, every atom of 
self-respect ; he dared not rely on himself for 
anything. Sanin recollected too how he had 
later on — oh, ignominy ! — sent the Polozovs' 
footman to Frankfort for his things, what 
cowardly terror he had felt, how he had had 
one thought only, to get away as soon as 
might be to Paris — to Paris ; how in obedience 
230 



THE TORRENTS OF 




to Maria Nikolaevna, he b^ humoured and 
tried to- .please IppoJj^^Sidoritch and been 
an;iiable to DonhTJf, on whose finger he noticcd"\ 
jdst such an iron rin pr as Maria Nikn laeyna hady' 
givgrri iim ! t-'f^hen followed memories stiil 
worse, more ignominious . . . the waiter hands 
him a visiting card, and on it is the name, 
' Pantalcnne Cippatola, court singer to His 
Highness the Duke of Modena ! ' He hides 
from the old man, but cannot escape meeting 
him in the corridor, and a face of exasperation 
rises before him under an upstanding topknot 
of grey hair ; the old eyes blaze like red-hot 
coals, and he hears menacing cries and curses : 
' Maledizione ! ' hears even the terrible words : 
' Codardo ! Infame traditore ! ' Sanin closes 
his eyes, shakes his head, turns away again 
and again, but still he sees himself sitting in 
a travelling carriage on the narrow front seat 
... In the comfortable places facing the horses 
sit Maria Nikolaevna and Ippolit Sidoritch, the 
four horses trotting all together fly along the 
paved roads of Wiesbaden to Paris ! to Paris ! 
Ippolit Sidoritch is eating a pear which Sanin 
has peeled for him, while Maria Nikolaevna 
watches him and smiles at him, her bondslave, 
that smile he knows already, the smile of the 
proprietor, the slave-owner. . . . But, good 
God, out there at the corner of the street not 
231 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

far from the city walls, wasn't it Pantaleone 
again, and who with him ? Can it be Emilio ? 
Yes, it was he, the enthusiastic devoted boy ! 
Not long since his young face had been full of 
reverence before his hero, his ideal, but now his 
pale handsome face, so handsome that Maria 
Nikolaevna noticed him and poked her head 
out of the carriage window, that noble face is 
glowing with anger and contempt ; his eyes, so 
like her eyes ! are fastened upon Sanin, and the 
tightly compressed lips part to revile him. . . . 

And Pantaleone stretches out his hand and 
points Sanin out to Tartaglia standing near, 
and Tartaglia barks at Sanin, and the very 
bark of the faithful dog sounds like an un- 
bearable reproach. . . . Hideous ! 

And then, the life in Paris, and all the 
humiliations, all the loathsome tortures of the 
slave, who dare not be jealous or complain, and 
who is cast aside at last, like a worn-out gar- 
ment. . . . 

Then the going home to his own country, 
the poisoned, the devastated life, the petty 
interests and petty cares, bitter and fruitless 
regret, and as bitter and fruitless apathy, a 
punishment not apparent, but of every minute, 
continuous, like some trivial but incurable 
disease, the payment farthing by farthing of 
the debt, which can never be settled. . . . 
232 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 
The cup was full enough. 

How had the garnet cross given Sanin by 
Gemma existed till now, why had he not sent 
it back, how had it happened that he had 
never come across it till that day ? A long, 
long while he sat deep in thought, and taught 
as he was by the experience of so many years, 
he still could not comprehend how he could 
have-~^€sertcd Genimai so tenderly and pas- 
sionately loved, for a woman he did not love 
at all. . . . Next day he surprised all his 
friends and acquaintances by announcing that 
he was going abroad. 

The surprise was general in society. Sanin 
was leaving Petersburg, in the middle of the 
winter, after having only just taken and fur- 
nished a capital flat, and having even secured 
seats for all the performances of the Italian 
O^era, in which Madame Patti . . . Patti, her- 
self, herself, was to take part ! TTis friends and 
acquaintances wondered ; but it is not human 
nature as a rule to be interested long in other 
people's affairs, and when Sanin set off for 
abroad, none came to the railway station to see 
him off but a French tailor, and he only in the 
hope of securing an unpaid account 'pour U7i 
saute - en - barque en velours 7ioir tout a fait 
chic' 

233 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 



XLIV / 

Sanin told his friends he was going abroad, 
but he did not say where exactly : the reader^ 
will readily conjecture that he made straight 
for Frankfort. Thanks to the general exten- 
sion of railways, on the fourth day after leaving 
Petersburg he was there. He had not visited 
the place since 1840. The hotel, the White 
Swan, was standing in its old place and still 
flourishing, though no longer regarded as first 
class. The Zeile, the principal street of Frank- 
fort was little changed, but there was not only 
no trace of Signora Roselli's house, the very 
street in which it stood had disappeared. Sanin 
wandered like a man in a dream about the places 
once so familiar, and recognised nothing ; the 
old buildings had vanished ; they were re- 
placed by new streets of huge continuous 
houses and fine villas ; even the public garden, 
where that last interview with Gemma had 
taken place, had so grown up and altered that 
Sanin wondered if it really were the same 
garden. What was he to do ? How and 
where could he get information ? Thirty^ 
years, no little thing ! had passed since those 
days. No one to whom he applied had even 
heard of the name Roselli ; the hotel-keeper 
234 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

advised him to have recourse to the pubh'c 
library, there, he told him, he would find all the 
old newspapers, but what good he would get 
from that, the hotel-keeper owned he didn't 
see. Sanin in despair made inquiries about 
Herr Kliiber. That name the hotel-keeper 
knew well, but there too no success awaited 
him. The elegant shop-manager, after making 
much noi?e in th^ jv2]ld.^fl^..ri^ii:ig„ to the 
position of a" capitalist, had speculated, was 
made bankrupt, and died in prison. . . . This 
piece of news did not, however, occasion Sanin 
the slightest regret. He was beginning to feel 
that his journey had been rather precipitate. 
. . . But, behold, one day, as he was turning 
over a Frankfort directory, he came on the 
name : Von Donhof, retired major. He promptly 
took a carriage and drove to the address, though 
why was this Von Donhof certain to be that 
Donhof, and why even was the right Donhof 
likely to be able to tell him any news of the 
Roselli family? No matter, a drowning man 
catches at straws. 

Sanin found the retired major von Donhof at 
home, and in the grey-haired gentleman who 
received him he recognised at once his adversary 
of bygone days. Donhof knew him too, and 
was positively delighted to see him ; he recalled 
to him his young days, the escapades of his 
235 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

youth. Sanin heard from him that the Roselli 
family had long, long ago emigrated to America, 
to New York ; that Gemma had married a 
merchant ; that he, Donhof, had an acquaint- 
ance also a merchant, who would probably 
know her husband's address, as he did a great 
deal of business with America. Sanin begged 
Donhof to consult this friend, and, to his 
delight, Donhof brought him the address of 
Gemma's husband, Mr. Jeremy Slocum, New 
York, Broadway, No. 501. Only this address 
dated from the year 1863. 

* Let us hope,' cried Donhof, ' that our Frank- 
fort belle is still alive and has not left New 
York ! By the way,' he added, dropping his 
voice, ' what about that Russian lady, who was 
staying, do you remember, about that time at 
Wiesbaden — Madame von Bo . . . von Bolozov, 
is she still living ? ' 

* No,' answered Sanin, ' she died long ago.' 
Donhof looked up, but observing that Sanin 

had turned away and was frowning, he did 
not say another word, but took his leave. 

That same day Sanin sent a letter to Madame 
Gemma Slocum, at New York. In the letter 
he told her he was writing to her from Frank- 
fort, where he had come solely with the object 
of finding traces of her, that he was very well 
236 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

aware that he was absolutely without a right 
to expect that she would answer his appeal ; 
that he had not deserved her forgiveness, and 
could only hope that among happy surround- 
ings she had long ago forgotten his existence. 
He added that he had made up his mind to 
recall himself to her memory in consequence of 
a chance circumstance which had too vividly 
brought back to him the images of the past ; 
he described his life, solitary, childless, joyless ; 
he implored her to understand the grounds 
that had induced him to address her, not to 
let him carry to the grave the bitter sense of 
his own wrongdoing, expiated long since by 
suffering, but never forgiven, and to make him 
happy with even the briefest news of her life in 
the new world to which she had gone away. 
' In writing one word to me,' so Sanin ended 
his letter, 'you will be doing a good action 
worthy of your noble soul, and I shall thank 
you to my last breath. I am stopping here at 
the White Swan (he underlined those words) 
and shall wait, wait till spring, for your answer.' 
He despatched this letter, ^nd-..proceeded to 
wait. For six whole weeks he lived in the 
hotel, scarcely leaving his room, and resolutely 
seeing no one. No one could write to him 
from Russia nor from anywhere ; and that just 
suited his mood ; if a letter came addressed to 
237 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

him he would know at once that it was the one 
he was waiting for. He read from morning 
till evening, and not journals, but serious books 
— historical works. These prolonged studies, 
this stillness, this hidden life, like a snail in its 
shell, suited his spiritual condition to perfec- 
tion ; and for this, if nothing more, thanks to 
Gemma ! But was she alive ? Would she 
answer? 

At last a letter came, with an American 
postmark, from New York, addressed to him. 
The handwriting of the address on the envelope 
was English. . . . He did not recognise it, and 
there was a pang at his heart. He could not 
at once bring himself to break open the en- 
velope. He glanced at the signature — Gemma ! 
The tears positively gushed from hts-^yes : the 
mere fact that she signed her name, without a 
surname, was a pledge to him of reconciliation, 
of forgiveness ! He unfolded the thin sheet of 
blue notepaper : a photograph slipped out. 
He made haste to pick it up — and was struck 
dumb with amazement : Gemma, Gemma living, 
young as he had known her thirty years ago ! 
The same eyes, the same lips, the same form 
of the whole face ! On the back of the photo- 
graph was written, 'My daughter Mariana,' 
The whole letter was very kind and shnple*. 
Gemma thanked Sanin for not having hesitated 
238 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

to write to her, for having confidence in her ; 
she did not conceal from him that she had 
passed some painful moments after his dis- 
appearance, but she added at once that for 
all that she considered — and had always con- 
sidered — her meeting him as a happy thing, 
seeing that it was'thar meeting which had 
prevented her from becoming the wife of Mr. 
Kluber, and in that way,., though indirectly, 
had led to her marriage with her husband, with 
whom she had now lived twenty- eight years, 
in perfect happiness, comfort, and prosperity ; 
their house was known to every one in New 
York. Gemma informed Sanin that she was 
the mother of five.children, four sons and one 
daughter, a girl of eighteen, engaged to be 
married, and her photograph she enclosed as 
she was generally considered very like her 
mother. The sorrowful news Gemma kept for 
the end of the letter. Frau Lenore had died 
in New York, where she had followed her 
daughter and son-in-law, but she had lived 
long enough to rejoice in her children's happi- 
ness and to nurse her grandchildren. Panta- 
leone, too, had meant to come out to America, 
but he had died on the very eve of leaving 
Frankfort. ' Emilio, our beloved, incomparable 
Emilio, died a glorious death for the freedom 
of his country in Sicily, where he was one of 
239 



THE TORRENTS OF SPRING 

the "Thousand" under the leadership of the 
great Garibaldi ; we all bitterly lamented the 
loss of our priceless brother, but, even in 
the midst of our tears, we were proud of him 
— and shall always be proud of him — and hold 
his memory sacred ! His lofty, disinterested 
soul was worthy of a martyr's crown ! ' Then 
Gemma expressed her regret that Sanin's life 
had apparently been so unsuccessful, wished 
him before everything peace and a tranquil 
spirit, and said that she would be very glad to 
see him again, though she realised how unlikely 
such a meeting was. . . . 

We will not attempt to describe the feelings 
Sanin experienced as he read this letter. For such 
feelings there is no satisfactory expression ; they 
are too deep and too strong and too vague for 
any word. Only music could reproduce them.^ 

Sanin answered at once ; and as a wedding 
gift to the young girl, sent to ' Mariana Slocum, 
from an unknown friend,' a garnet cross, set in 
a magnificent pearl necklace. This present, 
costly as it was, did not ruin him ; during the 
thirty years that had elapsed since his first 
visit to Frankfort, he had succeeded in ac- 
cumulating a considerable fortune. Early in 
May he went back to Petersburg, but hardly 
for long. It is rumoured that he is selling all 
his lands and preparing to go to America. 
240 



FIRST LOVE 

The party had long ago broken up. The 
clock struck half-past twelve. There was left 
in the room only the master of the house and 
Sergei Nikolaeyitch and Vladimir Petrovitch. -^-' 

The master of the house rang and ordered 
the remains of the supper to be cleared away. 
' And so it 's settled,' he observed, sitting 
back farther in his easy-chair and lighting 
a cigar ; ' each of us is to tell the story of his 
first love. It's your turn, Sergei Nikolaevitch.' 

Sergei Nikolaevitch, a round little man with 
a plump, light-complexioned face, gazed first 
at the master of the house, then raised his eyes 
to the ceiling. ' I had no first love,' he said at 
last ; ' I began with the second.' 

' How was that ? ' 

'It's very simple. I was eighteen when I 
had my first flirtation with a charming young 
lady, but I courted her just as though it were 
nothing new to me ; just as I courted others 
later on. To speak accurately, the first and 
last time I was in love was with my nurse 
when I was six years old ; but that 's in the 
remote past. The details of our relations have 
slipped out of my memory, and even if I 
remembered them, whom could they interest ? ' 
Q 241 



FIRST LOVE 

'Then how's it to be?' began the master 
of the house. ' There was nothing much of 
interest about my first love either ; I never fell 
in love with any one till I met Anna Nikolaevna, - 
now my wife, — and everything went as smoothly 
as possible with us ; our parents arranged the 
match, we were very soon in love with each 
other, and got married without loss of time. My 
story can be told in a couple of words. I must 
confess, gentlemen, in bringing up the subject of 
first love, I reckoned upon you, I won't say old, 
but no longer young, bachelors. Can't you en- 
liven us with something, Vladimir Petrovitch ? ' 

' My first love, certainly, was not quite an 
ordinary one,' responded, with some reluctance, 
Vladimir Petrovitch, a man of forty, with black 
hair turning grey. 

' Ah ! ' said the master of the house and 
Sergei Nikolaevitch with one voice : ' So 
much the better. . . . Tell us about it.' 

' If you wish it ... or no ; I won't tell the story ; 
I 'm no hand at telling a story ; I make it dry and 
brief, or spun out and affected. If you'll allow 
me, I '11 write out all I remember and read it you.' 

His friends at first would not agree, but 
Vladimir Petrovitch insisted on his own way. 
A fortnight later they were together again, and 
Vladimir Petrovitch kept his word. 

His manuscript contained the following 

story : — 

242 



FIRST LOVE 



I 

I WAS sixteen then. It happened in the 
summer of 1833. 

I lived in ^loscow with my parents. They 
had taken a country house for the summer 
near the Kalouga gate, facing the Neskutchny 
gardens. I was preparing for the university, 
but did not work much and was in no hurry. 

No one interfered with my freedom. I did 
what I Hked, especially after parting with my 
last tutor, a Frenchman who had never been 
able to get used to the idea that he had fallen 
* like a bomb ' {conune une bonibe) into Russia, 
and would lie sluggishly in bed with an expres- 
sion of exasperation on his face for days 
together. My father treated me with careless 
kindness; my mother scarcely noticed me, 
though she had no children except me ; other 
cares completely absorbed her. My father, a 
man still young and very handsome, had 
married her from mercenary considerations; she 
was ten years older than he. My mother led 
243 



FIRST LOVE 

a melancholy life ; she was for ever agitated, 
jealous and angry, but not in my father's pre- 
sence ; she was very much afraid of him, and 
he was severe, cold, and distant in his be- 
haviour. ... I have never seen a man more 
elaborately serene, self-confident, and com- 
manding. 

I shall never forget the first weeks I spent 
at the country house. The weather was 
magnificent ; we left town on the 9th of May, 
on St. Nicholas's day. I used to walk about 
in our garden, in the Neskutchny gardens, and 
beyond the town gates; I would take some 
book with me — Keidanov's Course, for instance 
— but I rarely looked into it, and more often 
than anything declaimed verses aloud ; I knew 
a great deal of poetry by heart ; my blood was 
in a ferment and my heart ached — so sweetly 
and absurdly ; I was all hope and anticipation, 
was a little frightened of something, and full of 
wonder at everything, and was on the tiptoe 
of expectation ; my imagination played con- 
tinually, fluttering rapidly about the same 
fancies, like martins about a bell-tower at 
dawn ; I dreamed, was sad, even wept ; but 
through the tears and through the sadness, 
inspired by a musical verse, or the beauty of 
evening, shot up like grass in spring the 
delicious sense of youth and effervescent life. 
244 



FIRST LOVE 

I had a horse to ride ; I used to saddle it 
myself and set off alone for long rides, break 
into a rapid gallop and fancy myself a knight 
at a tournament. How gaily the wind whistled 
in my ears ! or turning my face towards the 
sky, I would absorb its shining radiance and 
blue into my soul, that opened wide to wel- 
come it. 

I remember that at that time the image of 
woman, the vision of love, scarcely ever arose 
in definite shape in my brain ; but in all I 
thought, in all I felt, lay hidden a half-con- 
scious, shamefaced presentiment of something 
new, unutterably sweet, feminine. . . . 

This presentiment, this expectation, per- 
meated my whole being ; I breathed in it, it 
coursed through my veins with every drop of 
blood ... it was destined to be soon fulfilled. 

The place, where we settled for the summer, 
consisted of a wooden manor-house with 
columns and two small lodges ; in the lodge on 
the left there was a tiny factory for the manu- 
facture of cheap wall-papers. ... I had more 
than once strolled that way to look at about a 
dozen thin and dishevelled boys with greasy 
smocks and worn faces, who were perpetually 
jumping on to wooden levers, that pressed 
down the square blocks of the press, and so by 
the weight of their feeble bodies struck off the 
245 



FIRST LOVE 

variegated patterns of the wall-papers. The 
lodge on the right stood empty, and was to 
let. One day — three weeks after the 9th of 
May — the blinds in the windows of this lodge 
were drawn up, women's faces appeared at 
them — some family had installed themselves 
in it. I remember the same day at dinner, my 
mother inquired of the butler who were our 

(new neighbours, and hearing the name of the 
Princess Zasyekin, first observed with some 
respect, ' Ah ! a princess ! ' . . . and then added, 
* A poor one, I suppose ? ' 

' They arrived in three hired flies,' the butler 
remarked deferentially, as he handed a dish : 
' they don't keep their own carriage, and the 
furniture 's of the poorest' 

' Ah,' replied my mother, ' so much the better.' 

My father gave her a chilly glance ; she was 
silent. 

Certainly the Princess Zasyekin could not be 
a rich woman ; the lodge she had taken was so 
dilapidated, and small and low-pitched that 
people, even moderately well-off in the world, 
would hardly have consented to occupy it. At 
the time, however, all this went in at one ear 
and out at the other. The princely title had 
very little effect on me ; I had just been read- 



ing Schiller's Rodders. 



246 



FIRST LOVE 



II 



I WAS in the habit of wandering about our 
garden every evening on the look-out for rooks. 
I had long cherished a hatred for those wary, 
sly, and rapacious birds. On the day of which 
I have been speaking, I went as usual into the 
garden, and after patrolling all the walks with- 
out success (the rooks knew me, and merely 
cawed spasmodically at a distance), I chanced 
to go close to the low fence which separated 
our domain from the narrow strip of garden 
stretching beyond the lodge to the right, and 
belonging to it I was walking along, my eyes 
on the ground. Suddenly I heard a voice ; 
I looked across the fence, and was thunder- 
struck. ... I was confronted with a curious 
spectacle. 

A few paces from me on the grass between 
the green raspberry bushes stood a tall slender 
girl in a striped pink dress, with a white kerchief 
on her head ; four young men were close round 
her, and she was slapping them by turns 
on the forehead with those small grey flowers, 
the name of which I don't know, though they 
are well known to children ; the flowers form 
little bags, and burst open with a pop when 
you strike them against anything hard. The 
247 



FIRST LOVE 

young men presented their foreheads so eagerly, 
and in the gestures of the girl (I saw her in 
profile), there was something so fascinating, 
imperious, caressing, mocking, and charming, 
that I almost cried out with admiration and 
delight, and would, I thought, have given every- 
thing in the world on the spot only to have 
had those exquisite fingers strike me on the 
forehead. My gun slipped on to the grass, I 
forgot everything, I devoured with my eyes the 
graceful shape and neck and lovely arms and 
the slightly disordered fair hair under the white 
kerchief, and the half-closed clever eye, and the 
eyelashes and the soft cheek beneath them. . . . 

' Young man, hey, young man,' said a voice 
suddenly near me : * is it quite permissible to 
stare so at unknown young ladies ? ' 

I started, I was struck dumb. . . . Near me, 
the other side of the fence, stood a man with 
close-cropped black hair, looking ironically at 
me. At the same instant the girl too turned 
towards me. ... I caught sight of big grey 
eyes in a bright mobile face, and the whole 
face suddenly quivered and laughed, there was 
a flash of white teeth, a droll lifting of the eye- 
brows. ... I crimsoned, picked up my gun 
from the ground, and pursued by a musical but 
not ill-natured laugh, fled to my own room, 
flung myself on the bed, and hid my face in my 
248 



FIRST LOVE 

hands. My heart was fairly leaping ; I was 
greatly ashamed and overjoyed ; I felt an 
excitement I had never known before. 

After a rest, I brushed my hair, washed, and 
went downstairs to tea. The image of the 
young girl floated before me, my heart was no 
longer leaping, but was full of a sort of sweet 
oppression. 

' What 's the matter ? ' my father asked me all 
at once : * have you killed a rook ? ' 

I was on the point of telling him all about 
it, but I checked myself, and merely smiled to 
myself. As I was going to bed, I rotated — I 
don't know why — three times on one leg, 
pomaded my hair, got into bed, and slept like 
a top all night. Before morning I woke up for 
an instant, raised my head, looked round me in 
ecstasy, and fell asleep again. 



Ill 



'How can I make their acquaintance?' was 
my first thought when I waked in the morning. 
I went out in the garden before morning tea, 
but I did not go too near the fence, and saw 
no one. After drinking tea, I walked several 
times up and down the street before the house, 
and looked into the windows from a distance. 
249 



FIRST LOVE 

... I fancied her face at a curtain, and I 
hurried away in alarm. 

' I must make her acquaintance, though/ I 
thought, pacing distractedly about the sandy 
plain that stretches before Neskutchny park 
. . . ' but how, that is the question.' I recalled 
the minutest details of our meeting yesterday ; 
I had for some reason or other a particularly 
vivid recollection of how she had laughed at 
me. . . . But while I racked my brains, and 
made various plans, fate had already provided 
for me. 

In my absence my mother had received from 
her new neighbour a letter on grey paper, 
sealed with brown wax, such as is only used in 
notices from the post-office or on the corks of 
bottles of cheap wine. In this letter, which was 
written in illiterate language and in a slovenly 
hand, the princess begged my mother to use 
her powerful influence in her behalf; my 
mother, in the words of the princess, was very 
intimate with persons of high position, upon 
whom her fortunes and her children's fortunes 
depended, as she had some very important 
business in hand. ' I address myself to you,' 
she wrote, ' as one gentlewoman to another 
gentlewoman, and for that reason am glad to 
avail myself of the opportunity.' Concluding, 
she begged my mother's permission to call upon 
250 



FIRST LOVE 

her. I found my mother in an unpleasant 
state of indecision ; my father was not at home, 
and she had no one of whom to ask advice. 
Not to answer a gentlewoman, and a princess 
into the bargain, was impossible. But my 
mother was in a difficulty as to how to answer 
her. To write a note in French struck her as 
unsuitable, and Russian spelling- was not a 
strong point with my mother herself, and she 
was aware of it, and did not care to expose 
herself. She was overjoyed when I made my 
appearance, and at once told me to go round 
to the princess's, and to explain to her by word 
of mouth that my mother would always be glad 
to do her excellency any service within her 
powers, and begged her to come to see her at 
one o'clock. This unexpectedly rapid fulfil- 
ment of my secret desires both delighted and 
appalled me. I made no sign, however, of the 
perturbation which came over me, and as a 
preliminary step went to my own room to put 
on a new necktie and tail coat ; at home I still 
wore short jackets and lay-down collars, much 
as I abominated them. 



IV 



In the narrow and untidy passage of the 

lodge, which I entered with an involuntary 

251 



FIRST LOVE 

tremor in all my limbs, I was met by an old 
grey-headed servantwith a dark copper-coloured 
face, surly little pig's eyes, and such deep 
furrows on his forehead and temples as I had 
never beheld in my life. He was carrying a 
plate containing the spine of a herring that had 
been gnawed at ; and shutting the door that 
led into the room with his foot, he jerked out, 
' What do you want ? ' 

' Is the Princess Zasyekin at home ? ' I 
inquired. 

'Vonifaty!' a jarring female voice screamed 
from within. 

The man without a word turned his back on 
me, exhibiting as he did so the extremely 
threadbare hindpart of his livery with a solitary 
reddish heraldic button on it ; he put the plate 
down on the floor, and went away. 

* Did you go to the police station ? ' the same 
female voice called again. The man muttered 
something in reply. ' Eh. . . . Has some one 
come ? ' I heard again. . . . ' The young gentle- 
man from next door. Ask him in, then.' 

' Will you step into the drawing-room ? ' said 
the servant, making his appearance once more, 
and picking up the plate from the floor. I 
mastered my emotions, and went into the 
drawing-room. 

I found myself in a small and not over clean 
252 



FIRST LOVE 

apartment, containing some poor furniture that 
looked as if it had been hurriedly set down where 
it stood. At the window in an easy-chair 
with a broken arm was sitting a woman of 
fifty, bareheaded and ugly, in an old green 
dress, and a striped worsted wrap about 
her neck. Her small black eyes fixed me 
like pins. 

I went up to her and bowed. 

' I have the honour of addressing the Princess 
Zasyekin ? ' 

' I am the Princess Zasyekin ; and you are the 
son of Mr. V. ? ' 

' Yes. I have come to you with a message 
from my mother.' 

' Sit down, please. Vonifaty, where are my 
keys, have you seen them ? ' 

I communicated to Madame Zasyekin my 
mother's reply to her note. She heard me out, 
drumming with her fat red fingers on the 
window-pane, and when I had finished, she 
stared at me once more. 

' Very good ; I '11 be sure to come,' she 
observed at last. * But how young you are ! 
How old are you, may I ask ? ' 
r^ * Sixteen,' I replied, with an involuntary 
stammer. 

The princess drew out of her pocket some 
greasy papers covered with writing, raised them 
2S3 



FIRST LOVE 

right up to her nose, and began looking through 
them. 

* A good age,' she ejaculated suddenly, turn- 
ing round restlessly on her chair. ' And do 
you, pray, make yourself at home. I don't 
stand on ceremony.' 

' No, indeed,' I thought, scanning her unpre- 
possessing person with a disgust I could not 
restrain. 

At that instant another door flew open 
quickly, and in the doorway stood the girl I 
had seen the previous evening in the garden. 
She lifted her hand, and a mocking smile 
gleamed in her face. 

' Here is my daughter,' observed the princess, 
indicating her with her elbow. ' Zinotchka, the 
son of our neighbour, Mr. V. WKat is your 
name, allow me to ask ? ' 

'Vladimir,' I answered, getting up, and 
stuttering in my excitement. 

* And your father's name ? ' 

* Petrovitch.' 

'Ah! I used to know a commissioner of 
police whose name was Vladimir Petrovitch 
too. Vonifaty ! don't look for my keys ; the 
keys are in my pocket.' 

The young girl was still looking at me with 
the same smile, faintly fluttering her eyelids, 
and putting her head a little on one side. 
254 



FIRST LOVE 

* I have seen Monsieur Voldemar before,' she 
began. (The silvery note of her voice ran 
through me with a sort of sweet shiver.) ' You 
will let me call you so? ' 

' Oh, please,' I faltered. 

' Where was that ? ' asked the princess. 

The young princess did not answer her 
mother. 

' Have you anything to do just now ? ' she 
said, not taking her eyes off me. 

* Oh, no.' 

' Would you like to help me wind some wool ? 
Come in here, to me.' 

She nodded to me and went out of the 
drawing-room. I followed her. 

In the room we went into, the furniture was 
a little better, and was arranged with more 
taste. Though, indeed, at the moment, I was 
scarcely capable of noticing anything ; I 
moved as in a dream and felt all through my 
being a sort of intense blissfulness that verged 
on imbecility. 

The young princess sat down, took out a 
skein of red wool and, motioning me to a 
seat opposite her, carefully untied the skein 
and laid it across my hands. All this she did 
in silence with a sort of droll deliberation and 
with the same bright sly smile on her slightly 
parted lips. She began to wind the wool on a 
255 



FIRST LOVE 

bent card, and all at once she dazzled me with 
a glance so brilliant and rapid, that I could not 
help dropping my eyes. When her eyes, which 
were generally half closed, opened to their 
full extent, her face was completely trans- 
figured ; it was as though it were flooded with 
light 

' What did you think of me yesterday, M'sieu 
Voldemar ? ' she asked after a brief pause. 
' You thought ill of me, I expect ? ' 

' I . . . princess ... I thought nothing . . . 
how can I ? . . .' I answered in confusion. 

' Listen,' she rejoined. ' You don't know me 
yet. I 'm a very strange person ; I like always 
to be told the truth. You, I have just heard, 
are sixteen, and I am twenty-one : you see 
I 'm a great deal older than you, and so you 
ought always to tell me the truth . . . and to 
do what I tell you,' she added. ' Look at me : 
why don't you look at me ? ' 

I was still more abashed ; however, I raised 
my eyes to her. She smiled, not her former 
smile, but a smile of approbation. ' Look at 
me,' she said, dropping her voice caressingly : 
' I don't dislike that ... I like your face ; I 
have a presentiment we shall be friends. But 
do you like me?' she added slyly. 

' Princess . . .' I was beginning. 

' In the first place, you must call me Zinaida 
256 



FIRST LOVE 

Alexandrovna, and in the second place it 's a 
bad habit for children ' — (she corrected herself) 
* for young people — not to say straight out 
what they feel. That 's all very well for grown- 
up people. You like me, don't you ? ' 

Though I was greatly delighted that she 
talked so freely to me, still I was a little hurt. 
I wanted to show her that she had not a mere 
boy to deal with, and assuming as easy and 
serious an air as I could, I observed, ' Certainly. 
I like you very much, Zinaida Alexandrovna ; 
I have no wish to conceal it.' 

She shook her head very deliberately. * Have 
you a tutor ? ' she asked suddenly. 

' No ; I 've not had a tutor for a long, long 
while.' 

I told a lie ; it was not a month since I had 
parted with my Frenchman. 

* Oh ! I see then — you are quite grown-up.' 

She tapped me lightly on the fingers. * Hold 
your hands straight ! ' And she applied herself 
busily to winding the ball. 

I seized the opportunity when she was look- 
ing down and fell to watching her, at first 
stealthily, then more and more boldly. Her 
face struck me as even more charm.ing than on 
the previous evening ; everything in it was so 
delicate, clever, and sweet. She was sitting 
with her back to a window covered with a 
R 257 



FIRST LOVE 

white blind, the sunshine, streaming in through 
the blind, shed a soft light over her fluffy 
golden curls, her innocent neck, her sloping 
shoulders, and tender untroubled bosom. I 
gazed at her, and how dear and near she was 
already to me ! It seemed to me I had known 
her a long while and had never known any- 
thing nor lived at all till I met her. . . . She 
was wearing a dark and rather shabby dress 
and an apron ; I would gladly, I felt, have 
kissed every fold of that dress and apron. 
The tips of her little shoes peeped out from 
under her skirt ; I could have bowed down in 
adoration to those shoes. . . . ' And here I am 
sitting before her,' I thought ; * I have made 
acquaintance with her . . . what happiness, my 
God ! ' I could hardly keep from jumping up 
from my chair in ecstasy, but I only swung my 
legs a little, like a small child who has been 
given sweetmeats. 

I was as happy as a fish in water, and I 
could have stayed in that room for ever, have 
never left that place. 

Her eyelids were slowly lifted, and once 
more her clear eyes shone kindly upon me, 
and again she smiled. 

' How you look at me ! ' she said slowly, and 
she held up a threatening finger. 

I blushed . . . ' She understands it all, she 
258 



FIRST LOVE 

sees all,' flashed through my mind. ' And how 
could she fail to understand and see it all ? ' 

All at once there was a sound in the next 
room — the clink of a sabre. 

' Zina ! ' screamed the princess in the draw- 
ing-room, ' Byelovzorov has brought you a 
kitten.' -=-:=- 

* A kitten ! ' cried Zinaida, and getting up 
from her chair impetuously, she flung the ball 
of worsted on my knees and ran away. 

I too got up and, laying the skein and the 
ball of wool on the window-sill, I went into 
the drawing-room and stood still, hesitating. 
In the middle of the room, a tabby kitten was 
lying with outstretched paws ; Zinaida was on 
her knees before it, cautiously lifting up its 
little face. Near the old princess, and filling 
up almost the whole space between the two 
windows, was a flaxen curly-headed young 
man, a hussar, with a rosy face and prominent 
eyes. 

' What a funny little thing ! ' Zinaida was 
saying ; ' and its eyes are not grey, but green, 
and what long ears ! Thank you, V|ktor- 
Y^oritch ! you are very kind.' 

The hussar, in whom I recognised one of the 
young men I had seen the evening before, 
smiled and bowed with a clink of his spurs and 
a jingle of the chain of his sabre. 
259 



FIRST LOVE 

*You were pleased to say yesterday that 
you wished to possess a tabby kitten with long 
ears ... so I obtained it. Your word is law.' 
And he bowed again. 

The kitten gave a feeble mew and began 
sniffing the ground. 

' It 's hungry ! ' cried Zinaida. * Vonifaty, 
Sonia ! bring some milk.' 
=^ A maid, in an old yellow gown with a faded 
kerchief at her neck, came in with a saucer of 
milk and set it before the kitten. The kitten 
started, blinked, and began lapping. 

' What a pink little tongue it has ! ' remarked 
Zinaida, putting her head almost on the ground 
and peeping at it sideways under its very nose. 

The kitten having had enough began to purr 
and move its paws affectedly. Zinaida got up, 
and turning to the maid said carelessly, ' Take 
it away.' 

* For the kitten — your little hand,' said the 
hussar, with a simper and a shrug of his 
strongly-built frame, which was tightly buttoned 
up in a new uniform. 

* Both,' replied Zinaida, and she held out her 
hands to him. While he was kissing them, she 
looked at me over his shoulder. 

I stood stockstill in the same place and did 
not know whether to laugh, to say something, 
or to be silent. Suddenly through the open 
260 



FIRST LOVE 

door into the passage I caught sight of our 
footman, Fyodor. He was making signs to 
me. Mechanically I went out to him. 

* What do you want ? ' I asked. 

'Your mamma has sent for you,' he said in 
a whisper. ' She is angry that you have not 
come back with the answer.' 

' Why, have I been here long ? ' 

' Over an hour.' 

* Over an hour ! ' I repeated unconsciously, 
and going back to the drawing-room I began 
to make bows and scrape with my heels. 

' Where are you off to ? ' the young princess 
asked, glancing at me from behind the hussar. 

' I must go home. So I am to say,' I added, 
addressing the old lady, ' that you will come to 
us about two.' 

* Do you say so, my good sir.' 

The princess hurriedly pulled out her snuff- 
box and took snuff so loudly that I positively 
jumped. 'Do you say so,' she repeated, blink- 
ing tearfully and sneezing. 

I bowed once more, turned, and went out of 
the room with that sensation of awkwardness in 
my spine which a very young man feels when 
he knows he is being looked at from behind. 

* Mind you come and see us again, M'sieu 
Voldemar,' Zinaida called, and she laughed 
again. 

261 



FIRST LOVE 

* Why is it she 's always laughing ? ' I thought, 
as I went back home escorted by Fyodor, who 
said nothing to me, but walked behind me with 
an air of disapprobation. My mother scolded 
me and wondered what ever I could have been 
doing so long at the princess's. I made her 
no reply and went off to my own room. I felt 
suddenly very sad. ... I tried hard not to 
cry. ... I was jealous of the hussar. 



The princess called on my mother as she had 
promised and made a disagreeable impression 
on her. I was not present at their interview, 
but at table my mother told my father that this 
Prince Zasyekin struck her as a fenivie tres 
vulgaire, that she had quite worn her out beg- 
ging her to interest Prince Sergei in their behalf, 
that she seemed to have no end of lawsuits and 
affairs on hand — de vilaincs affaires cTafgent — 
and must be a very troublesome and litigious 
person. My mother added, however, that she 
had asked her and her daughter to dinner the 
next day (hearing the word 'daughter' I buried 
my nose in my plate), for after all she was a 
neighbour and a person of title. Upon this 
my father informed my mother that he re- 
262 



FIRST LOVE 

membered now who this lady was ; that he 
had in his youth known the deceased Prince 
Zasyekin, a very well-bred, but frivolous and 
absurd person ; that he had been nicknamed 
in society ^ le Parisien'^ from having lived a 
long while in Paris ; that he had been very 
rich, but had gambled away all his property ; 
and for some unknown reason, probably for 
money, though indeed he might have chosen 
better, if so, my father added with a cold smile, 
he had married the daughter of an agent, and 
after his marriage had entered upon specula- 
tions and ruined himself utterly. 

' If only she doesn't try to borrow money,' 
observed my mother. 

'That's exceedingly possible,' my father 
responded tranquilly. ' Does she speak 
French? ' 

'Very badly.' 

* H'm. It 's of no consequence anyway. I 
think you said you had asked the daughter 
too ; some one was telling me she was a very 
charming and cultivated girl.' 

' Ah ! Then she can't take after her mother.' 

* Nor her father either,' rejoined my father. 
' He was cultivated indeed, but a fool.' 

My mother sighed and sank into thought. 
My father said no more. I felt very uncom- 
fortable during this conversation. 
263 



FIRST LOVE 

After dinner I went into the garden, but 
without my gun. I swore to myself that I 
would not go near the Zasyekins' garden, 
but an irresistible force drew me thither, and 
not in vain. I had hardly reached the fence 
when I caught sight of Zinaida. This time 
she was alone. She held a book in her hands, 
and was coming slowly along the path. She 
did not notice me. 

I almost let her pass by ; but all at once I 
changed my mind and coughed. 

She turned round, but did not stop, pushed 
back with one hand the broad blue ribbon of 
her round straw hat, looked at me, smiled 
slowly, and again bent her eyes on the book. 

I took off my cap, and after hesitating a 
moment, walked away with a heavy heart. 
* Que suis-je poicr elk ? ' I thought (God knows 
why) in French. 

Familiar footsteps sounded behind me ; I 
looked round, my father came up to me with 
his light, rapid walk. 

* Is that the young princess ? ' he asked me. 
' Yes.' 

' Why, do you know her ? ' ^ 

* I saw her this morning at the princess's.' 
My father stopped, and, turning sharply on 

his heel, went back. When he was on a level 

with Zinaida, he made her a courteous bow. 

264 



FIRST LOVE 

She, too, bowed to him, with some astonishment 
on her face, and dropped her book. I saw how 
she looked after him. My father was always 
irreproachably dressed, simple and in a style 
of his own ; but his figure had never struck 
me as more graceful, never had his grey hat 
sat more becomingly on his curls, which were 
scarcely perceptibly thinner than they had once 
been. 

I bent my steps toward Zinaida, but she did 
not even glance at me ; she picked up her book 
again and went away. 



VI 



The whole evening and the following day I 
spent in a sort of dejected apathy. I remem- 
ber I tried to work and took up Keidanov, 
but the boldly printed lines and pages of the 
famous text-book passed before my eyes in 
vain. I read ten times over the words : 
' Julius Caesar was distinguished by warlike 
courage.' I did not understand anything and 
threw the book, aside. Before dinner-time I 
pomaded myself once more, and once more put 
on my tail-coat and necktie. 

'What's that for?' my mother demanded. 
* You 're not a student yet, and God knows 
265 



FIRST LOVE 

whether you'll get through the examination. 
And you Ve not long had a new jacket ! You 
can't throw it away ! ' 

' There will be visitors/ I murmured almost 
in despair. 

' What nonsense ! fine visitors indeed ! ' 
I had to submit. I changed my tail-coat for 
my jacket, but I did not take off the necktie. 
The princess and her daughter made their 
appearance half an hour before dinner-time ; 
the old lady had put on, in addition to the 
green dress with which I was already ac- 
quainted, a yellow shawl, and an old-fashioned 
cap adorned with flame-coloured ribbons. She 
began talking at once about her money diffi- 
culties, sighing, complaining of her poverty, 
and imploring assistance, but she made herself 
at home ; she took snuff as noisily, and 
fidgeted and lolled about in her chair as 
freely as ever. It never seemed to have 
struck her that she was a princess. Zinaida 
on the other hand was rigid, almost haughty 
in her demeanour, every inch a princess. 
There was a cold immobility and dignity in her 
face. I should not have recognised it ; I should 
not have known her smiles, her glances, though 
I thought her exquisite in this new aspect too. 
She wore a light barege dress with pale blue 
flowers on it ; her hair fell in long curls down 
266 



FIRST LOVE 

her cheek in the English fashion ; this style 
went well with the cold expression of her 
face. My father sat beside her during dinner, 
and entertained his neighbour with the finished 
and serene courtesy peculiar to him. He 
glanced at her from time to time, and she 
glanced at him, but so strangely, almost with 
hostility. Their conversation was carried on 
in French ; I was surprised, I remember, at the 
purity of Zinaida's accent. The princess, while 
we were at table, as before made no ceremony ; 
she ate a great deal, and praised the dishes. 
My mother was obviously bored by her, and 
answered her with a sort of weary indifference ; 
my father faintly frowned now and then. My 
mother did not like Zinaida either. ' A con- 
ceited minx,' she said next day. ' And fancy, 
what she has to be conceited about, avec sa 
mine de grisette ! ' 

' It 's clear you have never seen any grisettes,' 
my father observed to her. 

* Thank God, I haven't ! ' 

'Thank God, to be sure . . . only how can 
you form an opinion of them, then ? ' 

To me Zinaida had paid no attention what- 
ever. Soon after dinner the princess got up to 
go. 

'I shall rely on your kind offices, Maria] 
Nikolaevna and Piotr Vassilitch,' she said inj4^ 
267 ' 



FIRST LOVE 

a doleful sing-song to my mother and father. 
* I Ve no help for it ! There were days, but 
they are over. Here I am, an excellency, and 
a poor honour it is with nothing to eat ! ' 

My father made her a respectful bow and 
escorted her to the door of the hall. I was 
standing there in my short jacket, staring at 
the floor, like a man under sentence of death. 
Zinaida's treatment of me had crushed me 
utterly. What was my astonishment, when, 
as she passed me, she whispered quickly with 
her former kind expression in her eyes : ' Come 
to see us at eight, do you hear, be sure. . . .' I 
simply threw up my hands, but already she was 
gone, flinging a white scarf over her head. 



VII 

At eight o'clock precisely, in my tail-coat and 
with my hair brushed up into a tuft on my 
head, I entered the passage of the lodge, where 
the princess lived. The old servant looked 
crossly at me and got up unwillingly from 
his bench. There was a sound of merry voices 
in the drawing-room. I opened the door and 
fell back in amazement. In the middle of the 
room was the young princess, standing on a 
chair, holding a man's hat in front of her ; 
268 



FIRST LOVE 

round the chair crowded some half a dozen 
men. They were trying to put their hands 
into the hat, while she held it above their 
heads, shaking it violently. On seeing me, 
she cried, ' Stay, stay, another guest, he must 
have a ticket too,' and leaping lightly down 
from the chair she took me by the cuff of my 
coat. ' Come along,' she said, * why are you 
standing still? Messieurs, let me make you 
acquainted : this is M'sieu Voldemar, the son 
of our neighbour. And this,' she went on, 
addressing me, and indicating her guests in 
turn, ' Count Malevsky, Doctor Lushin, Mei- \ 
danov the poet, the retired captain Nirmatsky, ^ 
and Byelovzorov the hussar, whom you 've seen 
already. I hope you will be good friends.' 

I was so confused that I did not even bow 
to any one ; in Doctor Lushin I recognised the 
dark man who had so mercilessly put me to 
shame in the garden ; the others were un- 
known to me. 

' Count ! ' continued Zinaida, * write M'sieu 
Voldemar a ticket.' 

'That's not fair,' was objected in a slight 
Polish accent by the count, a very handsome and 
fashionably dressed brunette, with expressive 
brown eyes, a thin little white nose, and delicate 
little moustaches over a tiny mouth. ' This 
gentleman has not been playing forfeits with us.' 
269 



FIRST LOVE 

* It's unfair,' repeated in chorus Byelovzorov 
and the gentleman described as a retired 
captain, a man of forty, pock-marked to a 
hideous degree, curly-headed as a negro, round- 
shouldered, bandy-legged, and dressed in a 
military coat without epaulets, worn un- 
buttoned. 

* Write him a ticket, I tell you,' repeated 
the young princess. ' What 's this mutiny ? 
M'sieu Voldemar is with us for the first time, 
and there are no rules for him yet. It 's no 
use grumbling — write it, I wish it,' 

The count shrugged his shoulders but bowed 
submissively, took the pen in his white, ring- 
bedecked fingers, tore off a scrap of paper and 
wrote on it. 

' At least let us explain to Mr. Voldemar 
what we are about,' Lushin began in a sarcastic 
voice, * or else he will be quite lost. Do you 
see, young man, we are playing forfeits ? the 
princess has to pay a forfeit, and the one who 
draws the lucky lot is to have the privilege of 
kissing her hand. Do you understand what 
I 've told you ? ' 

I simply stared at him, and continued to 
stand still in bewilderment, while the young 
princess jumped up on the chair again, and 
again began waving the hat. They all stretched 
up to her, and I went after the rest. 
270 



FIRST LOVE 

* Meidanov,' said the princess to a tall young 
man with a thin face, little dim-sighted eyes, 
and exceedingly long black hair, 'you as a 
poet ought to be magnanimous, and give up 
your number to M'sieu Voldemar so that he 
may have two chances instead of one.' 

But Meidanov shook his head in refusal, and 
tossed his hair. After all the others I put my 
hand into the hat, and unfolded my lot. . . . 
Heavens ! what was my condition when I saw 
on it the word, Kiss ! 

* Kiss ! ' I could not help crying aloud. 

' Bravo ! he has won it,' the princess said 
quickly. ' How glad I am ! ' She came down 
from the chair and gave me such a bright 
sweet look, that my heart bounded. ' Are you 
glad ? ' she asked me. 

' Me ? ' . . . I faltered. 

* Sell me your lot,' Byelovzorov growled 
suddenly just in my ear. * I '11 give you a 
hundred roubles.' 

I answered the hussar with such an indignant 
look, that Zinaida clapped her hands, while 
Lushin cried, ' He's a fine fellow ! ' 

' But, as master of the ceremonies,' he went 
on, ' it's my duty to see that all the rules are 
kept. M'sieu Voldemar, go down on one knee. 
That is our regulation.' 

Zinaida stood in front of me, her head a 
271 



FIRST LOVE 

little on one side as though to get a better look 
at me ; she held out her hand to me with 
dignity. A mist passed before my eyes ; I 
meant to drop on one knee, sank on both, and 
pressed my lips to Zinaida's fingers so awk- 
wardly that I scratched myself a little with the 
tip of her nail. 

* Well done ! ' cried Lushin, and helped me 
to get up. 

The game of forfeits went on. Zinaida sat 
me down beside her. She invented all sorts of 
extraordinary forfeits ! She had among other 
things to represent a ' statue,' and she chose 
as a pedestal the hideous Nirmatsky, told him 
to bow down in an arch, and bend his head 
down on his breast. The laughter never 
paused for an instant. For me, a boy constantly 
brought up in the seclusion of a dignified 
manor-house, all this noise and uproar, this 
unceremonious, almost riotous gaiety, these 
relations with unknown persons, were simply 
intoxicating. My head went round, as though 
from wine. I began laughing and talking 
louder than the others, so much so that the 
old princess, who was sitting in the next room 
with some sort of clerk from the Tversky gate, 
invited by her for consultation on business, 
positively came in to look at me. But I felt 
so happy that I did not mind anything, I 
272 



FIRST LOVE 

didn't care a straw for any one's jeers, or dubious 
looks. Zinaida continued to show me a pre- 
ference, and kept me at her side. In one 
forfeit, I had to sit by her, both hidden under 
one silk handkerchief: I was to tell her my 
secret. I remember our two heads being all 
at once in a warm, half-transparent, fragrant 
darkness, the soft, close brightness of her eyes 
in the dark, and the burning breath from her 
parted lips, and the gleam of her teeth and 
the ends of her hair tickling me and setting 
me on fire. I was silent. She smiled slyly and 
mysteriously, and at last whispered to me, 
' Well, what is it ? ' but I merely blushed and 
laughed, and turned away, catching my breath. 
We got tired of forfeits — we began to play a 
game with a string. My God ! what were my 
transports when, for not paying attention, I got 
a sharp and vigorous slap on my fingers from 
her, and how I tried afterwards to pretend that 
I was absent-minded, and she teased me, and 
would not touch the hands I held out to her ! 
What didn't we do that evening ! We played 
the piano, and sang and danced and acted a 
gypsy encampment. Nirmatsky was dressed up 
as a bear, and made to drink salt water. Count 
Malevsky showed us several sorts of card 
tricks, and finished, after shuffling the cards, 
by dealing himself all the trumps at whist, on 
s 273 



FIRST LOVE 

which Lushin 'had the honour of congratulating 
him.' Meidanov recited portions from his poem 
' The Manslayer ' (romanticism was at its height 
at this period), which he intended to bring out 
in a black cover with the title in blood-red 
letters ; they stole the clerk's cap off his knee, 
and made him dance a Cossack dance by way 
of ransom for it ; they dressed up old -Voni- 
faty in a woman's cap, and the young princess 
put on a man's hat. ... I could not enumerate 
all we did. Only Byelovzorov kept more and 
more in the background, scowling and angry. 
. . . Sometimes his eyes looked bloodshot, he 
flushed all over, and it seemed every minute as 
though he would rush out upon us all and 
scatter us like shavings in all directions ; but 
the young princess would glance at him,- and 
shake her finger at him, and he would retire 
into his corner again. 

We were quite worn out at last. Even the 
old princess, though she was ready for any- 
thing, as she expressed it, and no noise wearied 
her, felt tired at last, and longed for peace and 
quiet. At twelve o'clock at night, supper was 
served, consisting of a piece of stale dry 
cheese, and some cold turnovers of minced 
ham, which seemed to me more delicious than 
any pastry I had ever tasted ; there was only 
one bottle of wine, and that was a strange 
274 



FIRST LOVE 

one ; a dark-coloured bottle with a wide neck, 
and the wine in it was of a pink hue ; no 
one drank it, however. Tired out and faint 
with happiness, I left the lodge ; at parting 
Zinaida pressed my hand warmly, and again 
smiled mysteriously. 

The night air was heavy and damp in my 
heated face ; a storm seemed to be gathering ; 
black stormclouds grew and crept across the 
sky, their smoky outlines visibly changing. A 
gust of wind shivered restlessly in the dark 
trees, and somewhere, far away on the horizon, 
muffled thunder angrily muttered as it were to 
itself. 

I made my way up to my room by the back 
stairs. My old man-nurse was asleep on the 
floor, and I had to step over him ; he waked 
up, saw me, and told me that my mother had 
again been very angry with me, and had wished 
to send after me again, but that my father had 
prevented her. (I had never gone to bed with- 
out saying good-night to my mother, and ask- 
ing her blessing. There was no help for it 
now !) 

I told my man that I would undress and go 
to bed by myself, and I put out the candle. 
But I did not undress, and did not go to bed. 

I sat down on a chair, and sat a long while, 
as though spell-bound. What I was feeling was 
275 



FIRST LOVE 

SO new and so sweet. ... I sat still, hardly- 
looking round and not moving, drew slow 
breaths, and only from time to time laughed 
silently at some recollection, or turned cold 
within at the thought that I was in love, that 
this was she, that this was love. Zinaida's face 
floated slowly before me in the darkness — 
floated, and did not float away ; her lips still 
wore the same enigmatic smile, her eyes watched 
me, a little from one side, with a questioning, 
dreamy, tender look ... as at the instant of 
parting from her. At last I got up, walked on 
tiptoe to my bed, and without undressing, laid 
my head carefully on the pillow, as though I 
were afraid by an abrupt movement to disturb 
what filled my soul. ... I lay down, but did 
not even close my eyes. Soon I noticed that 
faint glimmers of light of some sort were thrown 
continually into the room. ... I sat up and 
looked at the window. The window-frame 
could be clearly distinguished from the 
mysteriously and dimly-lighted panes. It is 
a storm, I thought ; and a storm it really was, 
but it was raging so very far away that the 
thunder could not be heard ; only blurred, long, 
as it were branching, gleams of lightning flashed 
continually over the sky ; it was not flashing, 
though, so much as quivering and twitching like 
the wing of a dying bird. I got up, went to the 
276 



FIRST LOVE 

window, and stood there till morning. . . . The 
lightning never ceased for an instant ; it was 
what is called among the peasants a sparrow 
night. I gazed at the dumb sandy plain, at the 
dark mass of the Neskutchny gardens, at the 
yellowish facades of the distant buildings, 
which seemed to quiver too at each faint flash. 
... I gazed, and could not turn away ; these 
silent lightning flashes, these gleams seemed in 
response to the secret silent fires which were 
aglow within me. Morning began to dawn ; 
the sky was flushed in patches of crimson. As 
the sun came nearer, the lightning grew 
gradually paler, and ceased ; the quivering 
gleams were fewer and fewer, and vanished at 
last, drowned in the sobering positive light of 
the coming day. . . . 

And my lightning flashes vanished too. I 
felt great weariness and peace . . . but Zinaida's 
image still -floated triumphant over my soul. 
But it too, this image, seemed more tranquil : 
like a swan rising out of the reeds of a bog, it 
stood out from the other unbeautiful figures 
surrounding it, and as I fell asleep, I flung myself 
before it in farewell, trusting adoration. . . . 

Oh, sweet emotions, gentle harmony, good- 
ness and peace of the softened heart, melting 
bliss of the first raptures of love, where are 
they, where are they ? 

277 



FIRST LOVE 



VIII 



The next morning, when I came down to tea, 
my mother scolded me — less severely, however, 
than I had expected — and made me tell her 
how I had spent the previous evening. I 
answered her in few words, omitting many 
details, and trying to give the most innocent 
air to everything. 

' Anyway, they 're people who 're not coimne 
il faut'^ my mother commented, ' and you 've 
no business to be hanging about there, instead 
of preparing yourself for the examination, and 
doing your work.' 

As I was well aware that my mother's anxiety 
about my studies was confined to these few 
words, I did not feel it necessary to make any 
rejoinder ; but after morning tea was over, my 
father took me by the arm, and turning into 
the garden with me, forced me to tell him all I 
had seen at the Zasyekins'. 

A curious influence my father had over me, 
and curious were the relations existing between 
us. He took hardly any interest in my educa- 
tion, but he never hurt my feelings ; he respected 
my freedom, he treated me — if I may so express 
it — with courtesy, . . . only he never let me be 
really close to him. I loved him, I admired 
278 



FIRST LOVE 

him, he was my ideal of a man — and Heavens ! 
how passionately devoted I should have been 
to him, if I had not been continually conscious 
of his holding me off! But when he liked, he 
could almost instantaneously, by a single word, 
a single gesture, call forth an unbounded con- 
fidence in him. My soul expanded, I chattered 
away to him, as to a wise friend, a kindly 
teacher . . . then he as suddenly got rid of me, 
and again he was keeping me off, gently and 
affectionately, but still he kept me off. 

Sometimes he was in high spirits, and then 
he was ready to romp and frolic with me, like 
a boy (he was fond of vigorous physical exercise 
of every sort) ; once — it never happened a 
second time ! — he caressed me with such tender- 
ness that I almost shed tears. . . . But high 
spirits and tenderness alike vanished com- 
pletely, and what had passed between us, gave 
me nothing to build on for the future — it was 
as though I had dreamed it all. Sometimes I 
would scrutinise his clever handsome bright 
face . . . my heart would throb, and my whole 
being yearn to him ... he would seem to feel 
what was going on w^ithin me, would give me a 
passing pat on the cheek, and go away, or take 
up some work, or suddenly freeze all over as 
only he knew how to freeze, and I shrank into 
myself at once, and turned cold too. His rare 
279 



FIRST LOVE 

fits of friendliness to me were never called forth 
by my silent, but intelligible entreaties : they 
always occurred unexpectedly. Thinking over 
my father's character later, I have come to the 
conclusion that he had no thoughts to spare for 
me and for family life ; his heart was in other 
things, and found complete satisfaction else- 
where. ' Take for yourself what you can, and 
don't be ruled by others ; to L^luiig to oneself 
— the whole savour of life lies in that,' he said 
to me one day. Another time, I, as a young 
democrat, fell to airing my views on liberty (he 
was ' kind,' as I used to call it, that day ; and 
at such times I could talk to him as 1 liked). 
' Liberty,' he repeated ; * and do you know what 
can give a man liberty ? ' 

' What ? ' 

' Will, his own will, and it gives power, which 
is better than liberty. Know how to will, and 
you will be free, and will lead.' 

My father, before all, and above all, desired to 
live, and lived. . . . Perhaps he had a presenti- 
ment that he would not have long to enjoy the 
* savour ' of life : he died at forty-two. 

I described my evening at the Zasyckins' 
minutely to my father. Half attentively, half 
carelessly, he listened to mc, sitting on a garden 
seat, drawing in the sand with his cane. Now 
and then he laughed, shot bright, droll glances 
280 



FIRST LOVE 

at me, and spurred me on with short questions 
and assents. At first I could not bring myself 
even to utter the name of Zinaida, but I could 
not restrain myself long, and began singing 
her praises. My father still laughed ; then 
he grew thoughtful, stretched, and got up. 

I remembered that as he came out of the 
house he had ordered his horse to be saddled. 
He was a splendid horseman, and, long before 
Rarey, had the secret of breaking in the most 
vicious horses. 

'Shall I come with you, father?' I asked. 

* No,' he answered, and his face resumed its 
ordinary expression of friendly indifference. 
' Go alone, if you like ; and tell the coachman 
I 'm not going.' 

He turned his back on me and walked 
rapidly away. I looked after him ; he dis- 
appeared through the gates. I saw his hat 
moving along beside the fence ; he went into 
the Zasyekins'. 

He stayed there not more than an hour, but 
then departed at once for the town, and did 
not return home till evening. 

After dinner I went myself to the Zasyekins'. 
In the drawing-room I found only the old 
princess. On seeing me she scratched her head 
under her cap with a knitting-needle, and sud- 
denly asked me, could I copy a petition for her. 
281 



FIRST LOVE 

'With pleasure/ I replied, sitting down on 
the edge of a chair. 

'Only mind and make the letters bigger/ 
observed the princess, handing me a dirty sheet 
of paper ; ' and couldn't you do it to-day, my 
good sir ? ' 

* Certainly, I will copy it to-day.' 

The door of the next room was just opened, 
and in the crack I saw the face of Zinaida, pale 
and pensive, her hair flung carelessly back ; 
she stared at me with big chilly eyes, and softly 
closed the door. 

* Zina, Zina ! ' called the old lady. Zinaida 
made no response. I took home the old lady's 
petition and spent the whole evening over it. 



IX 



My ' passion ' dated from that day. I felt at 
that time, I recollect, something like what a 
man must feel on entering the service : I had 
ceased now to be simply a young boy ; I was 
in love. I have said that my passion dated 
from that day ; I might have added that my 
sufferings too dated from the same day. Away 
from Zinaida I pined ; nothing was to my 
mind ; everything went wrong with me ; I 
282 



FIRST LOVE 

spent whole days thinking intensely about her 
... I pined when away, . . . but in her presence 
I was no better off. I was jealous ; I was con- 
scious of my insignificance ; I was stupidly 
sulky or stupidly abject, and, all the same, an 
invincible force drew me to her, and I could 
not help a shudder of delight whenever I 
stepped through the doorway of her room. 
Zinaida guessed at once that I was in love 
with her, and indeed I never even thought of 
concealing it. She amused herself with my 
passion, made a fool of me, petted and tor- 
mented me. There is a sweetness in being the 
sole source, the autocratic and irresponsible 
cause of the greatest joy and profoundest pain 
to another, and I was like wax in Zinaida's 
hands ; though, indeed, I was not the only one 
in love with her. All the men who visited the 
house were crazy over her, and she kept them 
all in leading-strings at her feet. It amused 
her to arouse their hopes and then their fears, 
to turn them round her finger (she used to call 
it knocking their heads together), while they 
never dreamed of offering resistance and eagerly 
submitted to her. About her whole being, so 
full of life and beauty, there was a peculiarly 
bewitching mixture of slyness and carelessness, 
of artificiality and simplicity, of composure 
and frolicsomeness ; about everything she did 
283 



FIRST LOVE 

or 5aid, about every action of hers, there clung 
a delicate, fine charm, in which an individual 
power was manifest at work. And her face 
was ever changing, working too ; it expressed, 
almost at the same time, irony, dreaminess, 
and passion. Various emotions, delicate and 
quick-changing as the shadows of clouds on 
a sunny day of wind, chased one another con- 
tinually over her lips and eyes. 

Each of her adorers was necessary to her. 
Byelovzorov, whom she sometimes called ' my 
wild beast,' and sometimes simply 'mine,' would 
gladly have flung himself into the fire for her 
sake. With little confidence in his intellectual 
abilities and other qualities, he was for ever 
offering her marriage, hinting that the others 
were merely hanging about with no serious 
intention. ■ ^eidanov responded to the poetic 
fibres of her nature; a man of rather cold tem- 
perament, like almost all writers, he forced 
himself to convince her, and perhaps himself, 
that he adored her, sang her praises in endless 
verses, and read them to her with a peculiar 
enthusiasm, at once affected and sincere. She 
sympathised with him, and at the same time 
jeered at him a little ; she had no great faith 
in him, and after listening to his outpourings, 
she would make him read Pushkin, as she said, 
to clear the air. Lushin, the ironical doctor, 
284 



FIRST LOVE 

SO cynical in words, knew her better than any 
of them, and loved her more than all, though 
he abused her to her face and behind her back. 
She could not help respecting him, but made 
him smart for it, and at times, with a peculiar, 
malignant pleasure, made him feel that he too 
was at her mercy. ' I 'm a flirt, I 'm heartless, 
I 'm an actress in my instincts,' she said to him 
one day in my presence ; ' well and good ! 
Give me your hand then ; I '11 stick this pin in 
it, you '11 be ashamed of this young man's seeing 
it, it will hurt you, but you '11 laugh for all 
that, you truthful person.' Lushin crimsoned, 
turned away, bit his lips, but ended by sub- 
mitting his hand. She pricked it, and he did 
in fact begin to laugh, . . . and she laughed, 
thrusting the pin in pretty deeply, and peeping 
into his eyes, which he vainly strove to keep in 
other directions. . . . 

I understood least of all the relations existincr 
between Zinaida a*nd Count Malevsky. He was 
handsome, clever, and adroit, but something 
equivocal, something false in him was apparent 
even to me, a boy of sixteen, and I marvelled 
that Zinaida did not notice it. But possibly 
she did notice this element of falsity really and 
was not repelled by it. Her irregular educa- 
tion, strange acquaintances and habits, the 
constant presence of her mother, the poverty 
285 



FIRST LOVE 

and disorder in their house, everything, from 
the very liberty the young girl enjoyed, with 
the consciousness of her superiority to the 
people around her, had developed in her a sort 
of half-contemptuous carelessness and lack of 
fastidiousness. At any time anything might 
happen ; Vonifaty might announce that there 
was no sugar, or some revolting scandal would 
come to her ears, or her guests would fall to 
quarrelling among themselves — she would only 
shake her curls, and say, 'What does it matter?' 
and care little enough about it. 

But my blood, anyway, was sometimes on 
fire with indignation when Malevsky approached 
her, with a sly, fox-like action, leaned gracefully 
on the back of her chair, and began whispering 
in her ear with a self-satisfied and ingratiating 
little smile, while she folded her arms across 
her bosom, looked intently at him and smiled 
too, and shook her head. 

'What induces you to receive Count Mal- 
evsky?' I asked her one day. 

' He has such pretty moustaches,' she an- 
swered. * But that 's rather beyond you.' 

* You needn't think I care for him,' she said 
to me another time. * No ; I can't care for 
people I have to look down upon. I must 
have some one who can master me. . . . But, 
merciful heavens, I hope I may never come 
286 



FIRST LOVE 

across any one like that ! I don't want to be 
caught in any one's claws, not for anything.' 

' You '11 never be in love, then ? ' 

' And you ? Don't I love you ? ' she said, and 
she flicked me on the nose with the tip of her 
glove. 

Yes, Zinaida amused herself hugely at my 
expense. For three weeks I saw her every 
day, and what didn't she do with me ! She 
rarely came to see us, and I was not sorry for 
it ; in our house she was transformed into a 
young lady, a young princess, and I was a 
little overawed by her. I was afraid of be- 
traying myself before my mother ; she had 
taken a great dislike to Zinaida, and kept a 
hostile eye upon us. My father I was not so 
much afraid of; he seemed not to notice me. 
He talked little to her, but always with special 
cleverness and significance. I gave up working 
and reading ; I even gave up walking about 
the neighbourhood and riding my horse. Like 
a beetle tied by the leg, I moved continually 
round and round my beloved little lodge. I 
would gladly have stopped there altogether, it 
seemed . . . but that was impossible. My 
mother scolded me, and sometimes Zinaida 
herself drove me away. Then I used to shut 
myself up in my room, or go down to the very 
end of the garden, and climbing into what was 
287 



> 



\ 

FIRST LOVE 



left of a tall stone greenhouse, now in ruins, sit 
for hours with my legs hanging over the wall 
that looked on to the road, gazing and gazing 
and seeing nothing. White butterflies flitted 
lazily by me, over the dusty nettles; a saucy 
sparrow settled not far off on the half crum- 
bling red brickwork and twittered irritably, 
incessantly twisting and turning and preening 
his tail-feathers ; the still mistrustful rooks 
cawed now and then, sitting high, high up on 
the bare top of a birch-tree ; the sun and wind 
played softly on its pliant branches ; the tinkle 
of the bells of the Don monastery floated across 
to me from time to time, peaceful and dreary ; 
while I sat, gazed, listened, and was filled full 
of a nameless sensation in which all was con- 
tained : sadness and joy and the foretaste of 
the future, and the desire and dread of life. 
But at that time I understood nothing of it, 
and could have given a name to nothing of all 
that was passing at random within me, or should 
have called it all by one name — the name of 
Zinaida. 

Zinaida continued to play cat and mouse 
with me. She flirted with me, and I was all agi- 
tation and rapture ; then she would suddenly 
thrust me away, and I dared not go near her 
— dared not look at her. 

I remember she was very cold to me for 
288 



FIRST LOVE 

several days together; I was completely 
crushed, and creeping timidly to their lodge, 
tried to keep close to the old princess, regard- 
less of the circumstance that she was particularly 
scolding and grumbling just at that time ; her 
financial affairs had been going badly, and she 
had already had two * explanations ' with the 
police officials. 

One day I was walking in the garden beside 
the familiar fence, and I caught sight of Zin- 
aida ; leaning on both arms, she was sitting on 
the grass, not stirring a muscle. I was about to 
make off cautiously, but she suddenly raised her 
head and beckoned me imperiously. My heart 
failed me ; I did not understand her at first. She 
repeated her signal. I promptly jumped over 
the fence and ran joyfully up to her, but she 
brought me to a halt with a look, and motioned 
me to the path two paces from her. In con- 
fusion, not knowing what to do, I fell on my 
knees at the edge of the path. She was so 
pale, such bitter suffering, such intense weari- 
ness, was expressed in every feature of her face, 
that it sent a pang to my heart, and I muttered 
unconsciously, 'What is the matter?' 

Zinaida stretched out her head, picked a blade 
of grass, bit it and flung it away from her. 

* You love me very much ? ' she asked at 
last. * Yes.' 



FIRST LOVE 

I made no answer — indeed, what need was 
there to answer ? 

* Yes,' she repeated, looking at me as before. 
' That 's so. The same eyes,' — she went on ; 
sank into thought, and hid her face in her 
hands. ' Everything 's grown so loathsome to 
me,' she whispered, ' I would have gone to the 
other end of the world first — I can't bear it, I 
can't get over it. . . . And what is there before 
me ! . . . Ah, I am wretched. . . . My God, 
how wretched I am ! ' 

' What for ? ' I asked timidly. 

Zinaida made no answer, she simply shrugged 
her shoulders. I remained kneeling, gazing at 
her with intense sadness. Every word she had 
uttered simply cut me to the heart. At that 
instant I felt I would gladly have given my life, 
if only she should not grieve. I gazed at her — 
and though I could not understand why she 
was wretched, I vividly pictured to myself, how 
in a fit of insupportable anguish, she had sud- 
denly come out into the garden, and sunk to 
the earth, as though mown down by a scythe. 
It was all bright and green about her ; the wind 
was whispering in the leaves of the trees, and 
swinging now and then a long branch of a rasp- 
berry bush over Zinaida's head. There was a 
sound of the cooing of doves, and the bees 
hummed, flying low over the scanty grass. 
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FIRST LOVE 

Overhead the sun was radiantly blue — while I 
was so sorrowful. . . . 

* Read me some poetry,' said Zinaida in an 
undertone, and she propped herself on her 
elbow ; ' I like your reading poetry. You read 
it in sing-song, but that 's no matter, that comes 
of being young. Read me "On the Hills of 
Georgia." Only sit down first.' 

I sat down and read 'On the Hills of 
Georgia.' 

' " That the heart cannot choose but love," ' 
repeated Zinaida. 'That's where poetry's so 
fine ; it tells us what is not, and what 's not only 
better than what is, but much more like the 
truth, " cannot choose but love," — it might want 
not to, but it can't help it.' She was silent 
again, then all at once she started and got up. 
' Come along. Meidanov's indoors with mamma, 
he brought me his poem, but I deserted him. 
His feelings are hurt too now ... I can't help 
it ! you '11 understand it all some day . . . 
only don't be angry with me ! ' 

Zinaida hurriedly pressed my hand and ran 
on ahead. We went back into the lodge. 
Meidanov set to reading us his ' Manslayer,' 
which had just appeared in print, but I did not 
hear him. He screamed and drawled his four- 
foot iambic lines, the alternating rhythms 
jingled like little bells, noisy and meaningless, 
291 



FIRST LOVE 

while I still watched Zinaida and tried to take 
in the import of her last words. 

* Perchance some unknown rival 
Has surprised and mastered thee ?' 

Meidanov bawled suddenly thiough his nose — 
and my eyes and Zinaida's met. She looked 
down and faintly blushed. I saw her blush, 
and grew cold with terror. I had been jealous 
before, but only at that instant the idea of her 
being in love flashed upon my mind. ' Good 
God ! she is in love ! ' 



X 

My real torments began from that instant. 
I racked my brains, changed my mind, and 
changed it back again, and kept an unremitting, 
though, as far as possible, secret watch on 
Zinaida. A change had come over her, that 
was obvious. She began going walks alone — 
and long walks. Sometimes she would not see 
visitors ; she would sit for hours together in 
her room. This had never been a habit of hers 
till now. I suddenly became — or fancied I 
had become — extraordinarily penetrating. 

'Isn't it he? or isn't it he?' I asked myself, 
passing in inward agitation from one of her 
292 



FIRST LOVE 

admirers to another. Count Malevsky secretly 
struck me as more to be feared than the others, 
though, for Zinaida's sake, I was ashamed to 
confess it to myself 

My watchfulness did not see beyond the end 
of my nose, and its secrecy probably deceived 
no one ; any way, Doctor Lushin soon saw 
through me. But he, too, had changed of late ; 
he had grown thin, he laughed as often, but his 
laugh seemed more hollow, more spiteful, shorter, 
an involuntary nervous irritability took the 
place of his former light irony and assumed 
cynicism. 

* Why are you incessantly hanging about here, 
young man ? ' he said to me one day, when we 
were left alone together in the Zasyekins' 
drawing-room. (The young princess had not 
come home from a walk, and the shrill voice of 
the old princess could be heard within ; she 
was scolding the maid.) * You ought to be 
studying, working — while you 're young — and 
what are you doing ? ' 

'You can't tell whether I work at home,' I 
retorted with some haughtiness, but also with 
some hesitation. 

'A great deal of work you do! that's not 

what you 're thinking about ! Well, I won't 

find fault with that ... at your age that 's in 

the natural order of things. But you 've been 

293 



FIRST LOVE 

awfully unlucky in your choice. Don't you 
see what this house is ? ' 

* I don't understand you,' I observed. 

* You don't understand ? so much the worse 
for you. I regard it as a duty to warn you. 
Old bachelors, like me, can come here, what 
harm can it do us ! we 're tough, nothing can 
hurt us, what harm can it do us ; but your 
skin 's tender yet — this air is bad for you — 
believe me, you may get harm from it.' 

' How so ? ' 

' Why, are you well now ? Are you in a 
normal condition ? Is what you 're feeling — 
beneficial to you — good for you ? ' 

' Why, what am I feeling ? ' I said, while in 
my heart I knew the doctor was right. 

* Ah, young man, young man,' the doctor 
went on with an intonation that suggested that 
something highly insulting to me was contained 
in these two words, ' what 's the use of your 
prevaricating, when, thank God, what 's in your 
heart is in your face, so far ? But there, what 's 
the use of talking ? I shouldn't come here my- 
self, if . . . (the doctor compressed his lips) . . . 
if I weren't such a queer fellow. Only this is 
what surprises me ; how it is, you, with your intel- 
ligence, don't see what is going on around you ? ' 

* And what is going on ? ' I put in, all on the 
alert. 

294 



FIRST LOVE 

The doctor looked at me with a sort of ironi- 
cal compassion. 

* Nice of me ! ' he said as though to himself, 
* as if he need know anything of it. In fact, I 
tell you again/ he added, raising his voice, * the 
atmosphere here is not fit for you. You like 
being here, but what of that ! it 's nice and 
sweet-smelling in a greenhouse — but there 's no 
living in it. Yes ! do as I tell you, and go 
back to your Keidanov.' 

The old princess came in, and began com- 
plaining to the doctor of her toothache. Then 
Zinaida appeared. 

' Come,' said the old princess, ' you must 
scold her, doctor. She 's drinking iced water 
all day long ; is that good for her, pray, with 
her delicate chest ? ' 

' Why do you do that ? ' asked Lushin. 

* Why, what effect could it have ? ' 

'What effect? You might get a chill and 
die.' 

' Truly ? Do you mean it ? Very well — so 
much the better.' 

' A fine idea ! ' muttered the doctor. The 
old princess had gone out. 

* Yes, a fine idea,' repeated Zinaida. ' Is life 
such a festive affair? Just look about you. 
... Is it nice, eh? Or do you imagine I don't 
understand it, and don't feel it? It gives me 

295 



FIRST LOVE 

pleasure — drinking iced water ; and can you 
seriously assure me that such a life is worth too 
much to be risked for an instant's pleasure — 
happiness I won't even talk about.' 

* Oh, very well,' remarked Lushin, * caprice 
^and irresponsibility. . . . Those two words sum 
you up; your whole nature's contained in those 
two words.' 

Zinai'da laughed nervously. 

'You're late for the post, my dear doctor. 
You don't keep a good look-out; you 're behind 
the times. Put on your spectacles. I 'm in no 
capricious humour now. To make fools of you, 
to make a fool of myself . . . much fun there 
is in that ! — and as for irresponsibility . . . 
M'sieu Voldemar,' Zinaida added suddenly, 
stamping, * don't make such a melancholy face. 
I can't endure people to pity me.' She went 
quickly out of the room. 

'It's bad for you, very bad for you, this 
atmosphere, young man,' Lushin said to me 
once more. 



XI 



On the evening of the same day the usual 
guests were assembled at the Zasyekins*. I 
was among them. 

The conversation turned on Meidanov's poem. 
296 



FIRST LOVE 

Zinaida expressed genuine admiration of it. 
'But do you know what?' she said to him. 
* If I were a poet, I would choose quite different 
subjects. Perhaps it's all nonsense, but strange 
ideas sometimes come into my head, especially 
when I 'm not asleep in the early morning, 
when the sky begins to turn rosy and grey both 
at once. I would, for instance . . . You won't 
laugh at me ? ' 

* No, no ! ' we all cried, with one voice. 

* I would describe,' she went on, folding her 
arms across her bosom and looking away, 'a 
whole company of young girls at night in a 
great boat, on a silent river. The moon is 
shining, and they are all in white, and wearing 
garlands of white flowers, and singing, you 
know, something in the nature of a hymn.' 

* I see — I see ; go on,' Meidanov commented 
with dreamy significance. 

'All of a sudden, loud clamour, laughter, 
torches, tambourines on the bank. ... It's a 
troop of Bacchantes dancing with songs and 
cries. It's your business to make a picture of 
it, Mr. Poet; . . . only I should like the torches 
to be red and to smoke a great deal, and the 
Bacchantes' eyes to gleam under their wreaths, 
and the wreaths to be dusky. Don't forget the 
tiger-skins, too, and goblets and gold — lots of 

gold ' 

297 



FIRST LOVE 

'Where ought the gold to be?' asked 
Meidanov, tossing back his sleek hair and 
distending his nostrils. 

* Where? on their shoulders and arms and 
legs — everywhere. They say in ancient times 
women wore gold rings on their ankles. The 
Bacchantes call the girls in the boat to them. 
The girls have ceased singing their hymn — 
they cannot go on with it, but they do not stir, 
the river carries them to the bank. And sud- 
denly one of them slowly rises. . . . This you 
must describe nicely : how she slowly gets up 
in the moonlight, and how her companions are 
afraid. . . . She steps over the edge of the 
boat, the Bacchantes surround her, whirl her 
away into night and darkness. . . . Here put 
in smoke in clouds and everything in confusion. 
There is nothing but the sound of their shrill 
cry, and her wreath left lying on the bank.' 

Zinai'da ceased. (' Oh ! she is in love ! ' I 
thought again.) 

' And is that all ? ' asked Meidanov. 

' That 's all.' 

' That can't be the subject of a whole poem,' 
he observed pompously, ' but I will make use 
of your idea for a lyrical fragment.' 

' In the romantic style ? ' queried Malevsky. 

' Of course, in the romantic style — Byronic' 

' Well, to my mind, Hugo beats Byron,' the 
298 



FIRST LOVE 



young count observed negligently; 'he's more 



interesting. 



* Hugo is a writer of the first class,' replied 
Neidanov ; 'and my friend, Tonkosheev, in his 
Spanish romance, El Trovador . . .' 

* Ah ! is that the book with the question- 
marks turned upside down ? ' Zinaida inter- 
rupted. 

' Yes. That 's the custom with the Spanish. 
I was about to observe that Tonkosheev . . .' 

'Come ! you 're going to argue about classicism 
and romanticism again,' Zinaida interrupted him 
a second time. 'We'd much better play . . . 

' Forfeits ? ' put in Lushin. 

' No, forfeits are a bore ; at comparisons.' 
(This game Zinaida had invented herself. 
Some object was mentioned, every one tried 
to compare it with something, and the one who 
chose the best comparison got a prize.) 

She went up to the window. The sun was 
just setting ; high up in the sky were large red 
clouds. 

' What are those clouds like ? ' questioned 
Zinaida ; and without waiting for our answer, 
she said, ' I think they are like the purple sails 
on the golden ship of Cleopatra, when she sailed 
to meet Antony. Do you remember, Neidanov, 
you were telling me about it not long ago?' 

All of us, like Polonius in Hamlet^ opined 
299 



FIRST LOVE 

that the clouds recalled nothing so much as 
those sails, and that not one of us could dis- 
cover a better comparison. 

* And how old was Antony then ? ' inquired 
Zinai'da. 

' A young man, no doubt,' observed Malevsky. 
*Yes, a young man,' Meidanov chimed in in 
confirmation. 

* Excuse me,' cried Lushin, ' he was over 
forty.' 

' Over forty,' repeated Zinai'da, giving him a 
rapid glance. . . . 

I soon went home. * She is in love,' my lips 
unconsciously repeated. . . . 'But with whom?' 



XII 



The days passed by. Zinaida became stranger 
and stranger, and more and more incompre- 
hensible. One day I went over to her, and saw 
her sitting in a basket-chair, her head pressed 
to the sharp edge of the table. She drew her- 
self up . . . her whole face was wet with tears. 

' Ah, you ! ' she said with a cruel smile. 
* Come here.' 

I went up to her. She put her hand on my 
head, and suddenly catching hold of my hair, 
began pulling it. 

300 



FIRST LOVE 

* It hurts me,' I said at last. 

* Ah ! does it? And do you suppose nothing 
hurts me ? * she replied. 

' Ai ! ' she cried suddenly, seeing she had 
pulled a little tuft of hair out. * What have I 
done? Poor M'sieu Voldemar ! ' 

She carefully smoothed the hair she had torn 
out, stroked it round her finger, and twisted it 
into a ring. 

* I shall put your hair in a locket and wear it 
round my neck,' she said, while the tears still 
glittered in her eyes. ' That will be some small 
consolation to you, perhaps . . . and now 
good-bye.' 

I went home, and found an unpleasant state 
of things there. My mother was having a scene 
with my father ; she was reproaching him with 
something, while he, as his habit was, main- 
tained a polite and chilly silence, and soon left 
her. I could not hear what my mother was 
talking of, and indeed I had no thought to 
spare for the subject ; I only remember that 
when the interview was over, she sent for mc to 
her room, and referred with great displeasure 
to the frequent visits I paid the princess, who 
was, in her words, une feinj)ie capable de tout. 
I kissed her hand (this was what I always did 
when I wanted to cut short a conversation) and 
went off to my room. Zinaida's tears had com- 
301 



FIRST LOVE 

pletely overwhelmed me ; I positively did not 
know what to think, and was ready to cry my- 
self; I was a child after all, in spite of my 
sixteen years. I had now given up thinking 
about Malevsky, though Byelovzorov looked 
more and more threatening every day, and 
glared at the wily count like a wolf at a sheep ; 
but I thought of nothing and of no one. I was 
lost in imaginings, and was always seeking 
seclusion and solitude. I was particularly fond 
of the ruined greenhouse. I would climb up 
on the high wall, and perch myself, and sit 
there, such an unhappy, lonely, and melancholy 
youth, that I felt sorry for myself — and how con- 
solatory where those mournful sensations, how 
I revelled in them ! . . . 

One day I was sitting on the wall looking 
into the distance and listening to the ringing 
of the bells. . . . Suddenly something floated 
up to me — not a breath of wind and not a shiver, 
but as it were a whiff of fragrance — as it were, 
a sense of some one's being near. ... I looked 
down. Below, on the path, in a light greyish 
gown, with a pink parasol on her shoulder, was 
Zinaida, hurrying along. She caught sight of 
me, stopped, and pushing back the brim of her 
straw hat, she raised her velvety eyes to me. 

'What are you doing up there at such a 
height.?' she asked me with a rather queer 
302 



FIRST LOVE 

smile. /Come,' she went on, 'you always de- 
clare you love me ; jump down into the road 
to me if you really do love me.' 

Zinaida had hardly uttered those words when 
I flew down, just as though some one had given 
me a violent push from behind. The wall was 
about fourteen feet high. I reached the ground 
on my feet, but the shock was so great that 
I could not keep my footing ; I fell down, and 
for an instant fainted away. When I came to 
myself again, without opening my eyes, I felt 
Zinaida beside me. ' My dear boy,' she was 
saying, bending over me, and there was a note 
of alarmed tenderness in her voice, ' how could 
you do it, dear ; how could you obey ? . . . You 
know I love you. . . . Get up.' 

Her bosom was heaving close to me, her 
hands were caressing my head, and suddenly 
— what were my emotions at that moment — 
her soft, fresh lips began covering my face 
with kisses . . . they touched my lips. . . . 
But then Zinaida probably guessed by the 
expression of my face that I had regained 
consciousness, though I still kept my eyes 
closed, and rising rapidly to her feet, she said : 
' Come, get up, naughty boy, silly, why are you 
lying in the dust?' I got up. 'Give me my 
parasol,' said Zinaida, ' I threw it down some- 
where, and don't stare at me like that . . . 
303 



FIRST LOVE 

what ridiculous nonsense ! you 're not hurt, are 
you ? stung by the nettles, I daresay ? Don't 
stare at me, I tell you. . . . But he doesn't 
understand, he doesn't answer,' she added, as 
though to herself. . . . ' Go home, M'sieu' Vol- 
demar, brush yourself, and don't dare to follow 
me, or I shall be angry, and never again . . .' 

She did not finish her sentence, but walked 
rapidly away, while I sat down by the side of 
the road . . . my legs would not support me. 
The nettles had stung my hands, my back 
ached, and my head was giddy ; but the feel- 
ing of rapture I experienced then has never 
come a second time in my life. It turned to 
a sweet ache in all my limbs and found ex- 
pression at last in joyful hops and skips and 
shouts. Yes, I was still a child. 

XIII 

I WAS SO proud and light-hearted all that day, 
I so vividly retained on my face the feeling of 
Zinaida's kisses, with such a shudder of delight I 
recalled every word she had uttered, I so hugged 
my unexpected happiness that I felt positively 
afraid, positively unwiUing to see her, who had 
given rise to these new sensations. It seemed 
to me that now I could ask nothing more of 
fate, that now I ought to ' go, and draw a deep 
304 



FIRST LOVE 

last sigh and die.' But, next day, when I went 
into the lodge, I felt great embarrassment, which 
I tried to conceal under a show of modest con- 
fidence, befitting a man who wishes to make it 
apparent that he knows how to keep a secret. 
Zinaida received me very simply, without any 
emotion, she simply shook her finger at me and 
asked me, whether I wasn't black and blue? 
All my modest confidence and air of mystery 
vanished instantaneously and with them my 
embarrassment. Of course, I had not expected 
anything particular, but Zinaida's composure 
was like a bucket of cold water thrown over 
me. I realised that in her eyes I was a child, 
and was extremely miserable ! Zinaida walked 
up and down the room, giving me a quick smile, 
whenever she caught my eye, but her thoughts 
were far away, I saw that clearly. . . . ' Shall I 
begin about what happened yesterday myself,' 
I pondered ; ' ask her, where she was hurrying 
off so fast, so as to find out once for all ' 
. . . but with a gesture of despair, I merely 
went and sat down in a corner. 

Byelovzorov came in ; I felt relieved to see 
him. 

* I 've not been able to find you a quiet 
horse,' he said in a sulky voice ; ' Freitag 
warrants one, but I don't feel any confidence 
in it, I am afraid.' 

u 305 



FIRST LOVE 

*What are you afraid of?' said Zinaida ; 
* allow me to inquire?' 

'What am I afraid of? Why, you don't 
know how to ride. Lord save us, what might 
happen ! What whim is this has come over 
you all of a sudden?' 

'Come, that's my business, Sir Wild Beast. 
In that case I will ask Piotr Vassilievitch.' . . . 
(My father's name was Piotr Vassilievitch. I 
was surprised at her mentioning his name so 
lightly and freely, as though she were confident 
of his readiness to do her a service.) 

* Oh, indeed,' retorted Byelovzorov, ' you 
mean to go out riding with him then ? ' 

* With him or with some one else is nothing 
to do with you. Only not with you, anyway.' 

' Not with me,' repeated Byelovzorov. ' As 
you wish. Well, I shall find you a horse.' 

* Yes, only mind now, don't send some old 
cow. I warn you I want to gallop.' 

* Gallop away by all means . . . with whom 
is it, with Malevsky, you are going to ride ? ' 

* And why not with him, Mr. Pugnacity ? 
Come, be quiet,' she added, * and don't glare. 
I '11 take you too. You know that to my mind 
now Malevsky 's — ugh ! ' She shook her head. 

' You say that to console me,' growled Bye- 
lovzorov. 

Zinaida half closed her eyes. * Does that 
306 



FIRST LOVE 

console you? 0...0...0... Mr. 
Pugnacity!' she said at last, as though she 
could find no other word. * And you, M'sieu' 
Voldemar, would you come with us ? ' 

* I don't care to ... in a large party,' I 
muttered, not raising my eyes. 

' You prefer a tcte-a-tite ? . . . Well, freedom 
to the free, and heaven to the saints,' she com- 
mented with a sigh. * Go along, Byelovzorov, 
and bestir yourself. I must have a horse for 
to-morrow.' 

' Oh, and where 's the money to come from ? ' 
put in the old princess. 

Zinaida scowled. 

' I won't ask you for it ; Byelovzorov will 
trust me.' 

'He'll trust you, will he?' . . . grumbled 
the old princess, and all of a sudden she 
screeched at the top of her voice, ' Duniashka ! ' 

* Maman, I have given you a bell to ring,' 
observed Zinaida. 

' Duniashka ! ' repeated the old lady. 
Byelovzorov took leave ; I went away with 
him. Zinaida did not try to detain me. 

XIV 

The next day I got up early, cut myself a 

stick, and set off beyond the town-gates. I 

307 



FIRST LOVE 

thought I would walk off my sorrow. It was 
a lovely day, bright and not too hot, a fresh 
sportive breeze roved over the earth with 
temperate rustle and frolic, setting all things 
a-flutter and harassing nothing. I wandered 
a long while over hills and through woods ; I 
had not felt happy, I had left home with the 
intention of giving myself up to melancholy, 
but youth, the exquisite weather, the fresh air, 
the pleasure of rapid motion, the sweetness of 
repose, lying on the thick grass in a solitary 
nook, gained the upper hand ; the memory of 
those never-to-be-forgotten words, those kisses, 
forced itself once more upon my soul. It 
was sweet to me to think that Zinaida could 
not, anyway, fail to do justice to my courage, 
my heroism. . . . ' Others may seem better 
to her than I,' I mused, ' let them ! But 
others only say what they would do, while I 
have done it. And what more would I not do 
for her?' My fancy set to work. I began 
picturing to myself how I would save her from 
the hands of enemies ; how, covered with blood 
I would tear her by force from prison, and 
expire at her feet. I remembered a picture 
hanging in our drawing-room — Malek-Adel 
bearing away Matilda — but at that point my 
attention was absorbed by the appearance of 
a speckled woodpecker who climbed busily up 
308 



FIRST LOVE 

the slender stem of a birch-tree and peeped out 
uneasily from behind it, first to the right, then 
to the left, like a musician behind the bass-viol. 
Then I sang * Not the white snows,' and 
passed from that to a song well known at 
that period : ' I await thee, when the wanton 
zephyr,' then I began reading aloud Yermak's 
address to the stars from Homyakov's tragedy. 
I made an attempt to compose something my- 
self in a sentimental vein, and invented the 
line which was to conclude each verse : * O 
Zinaida, Zinaida ! ' but could get no further 
with it. Meanwhile it was getting on towards 
dinner-time. I went down into the valley ; a 
narrow sandy path winding through it led to 
the town. I walked along this path. . . . The 
dull thud of horses' hoofs resounded behind me. 
I looked round instinctively, stood still and took 
off my cap. I saw my father and Zinaida. They 
were riding side by side. My father was say- 
ing something to her, bending right over to her, 
his hand propped on the horses' neck, he was 
smiling. Zinaida listened to him in silence, her 
eyes severely cast down, and her lips tightly 
pressed together. At first I saw them only ; 
but a few instants later, Byelovzorov came into 
sight round a bend in the glade, he was wearing 
a hussar's uniform with a pelisse, and riding a 
foaming black horse. The gallant horse tossed 
309 



FIRST LOVE 

its head, snorted and pranced from side to side, 
his rider was at once holding him in and spur- 
ring him on. I stood aside. My father gathered 
up the reins, moved away from Zinaida, she 
slowly raised her eyes to him, and both 
galloped off. . . . Byelovzorov flew after 
them, his sabre clattering behind him. 'He's 
as red as a crab,' I reflected, * while she . . . 
why 's she so pale ? out riding the whole 
morning, and pale ? ' 

I redoubled my pace, and got home just at 
dinner-time. My father was already sitting by 
my mother's chair, dressed for dinner, washed 
and fresh ; he was reading an article from the 
Journal des Debats in his smooth musical voice ; 
but my mother heard him without attention, 
and when she saw me, asked where I had been 
to all day long, and added that she didn't like 
this gadding about God knows where, and God 
knows in what company. *But I have been 
walking alone,' I was on the point of replying, 
but I looked at my father, and for some reason 
or other held my peace. 

XV 

For the next five or six days I hardly saw 

Zinaida ; she said she was ill, which did not, 

however, prevent the usual visitors from calling 

310 



FIRST LOVE 

at the lodge to pay — as they expressed it, their 
duty — all, that is, except Meidanov, who 
promptly grew dejected and sulky when he 
had not an opportunity of being enthusiastic. 
Byelovzorov sat sullen and red-faced in a 
corner, buttoned up to the throat ; on the 
refined face of Malevsky there flickered con- 
tinually an evil smile ; he had really fallen into 
disfavour with Zinaida, and waited with special 
assiduity on the old princess, and even went 
with her in a hired coach to call on the 
Governor-General. This expedition turned out 
unsuccessful, however, and even led to an 
unpleasant experience for Malevsky ; he was 
reminded of some scandal to do with certain 
officers of the engineers, and was forced in his 
explanations to plead his youth and inexperi- 
ence at the time. Lushin came twice a day, 
but did not stay long ; I was rather afraid of 
him after our last unreserved conversation, and 
at the same time felt a genuine attraction to 
him. He went a walk with me one day in the 
Neskutchny gardens, was very good-natured 
and nice, told me the names and properties of 
various plants and flowers, and suddenly, 
a propos of nothing at all, cried, hitting himself 
on his forehead, ' And I, poor fool, thought her 
a flirt! it's clear self-sacrifice is sweet for some 
people ! * 

3" 



FIRST LOVE 

' What do you mean by that ? ' I inquired. 

* I don't mean to tell you anything,' Lushin 
replied abruptly. 

Zinai'da avoided me ; my presence — I could 
not help noticing it — affected her disagreeably. 
She involuntarily turned away from me . . . 
involuntarily ; that was what was so bitter, that 
was what crushed me ! But there was no help 
for it, and I tried not to cross her path, and only 
to watch her from a distance, in which I was 
not always successful. As before, something 
incomprehensible was happening to her ; her 
face was different, she was different altogether. 
I was specially struck by the change that had 
taken place in her one warm still evening. I 
was sitting on a low garden bench under a 
spreading elderbush ; I was fond of that nook ; 
I could see from there the window of Zinaida's 
room. I sat there ; over my head a little bird 
was busily hopping about in the darkness of 
the leaves ; a grey cat, stretching herself at full 
length, crept warily about the garden, and the 
first beetles were heavily droning in the air, 
which was still clear, though it was not light. 
I sat and gazed at the window, and waited to 
see if it would open ; it did open, and Zinaida 
appeared at it. She had on a white dress, and 
she herself, her face, shoulders, and arms, were 
pale to whiteness. She stayed a long while 
312 



FIRST LOVE 

without moving, and looked out straight before 
her from under her knitted brows. I had never 
known such a look on her. Then she clasped 
her hands tightly, raised them to her lips, to her 
forehead, and suddenly pulling her fingers 
apart, she pushed back her hair behind her ears, 
tossed it, and with a sort of determination 
nodded her head, and slammed-to the window. 

Three days later she met me in the garden. 
I was turning away, but she stopped me of 
herself. 

' Give me your arm,' she said to me with her 
old afifectionateness, * it 's a long while since we 
have had a talk together.' 

I stole a look at her ; her eyes were full of a 
soft light, and her face seemed as it were 
smiling through a mist 

* Are you still not well ? ' I asked her. 

* No, that's all over now,' she answered, and 
she picked a small red rose. ' I am a little 
tired, but that too will pass off.' 

* And will you be as you used to be again ? ' 
I asked. 

Zinaida put the rose up to her face, and I 
fancied the reflection of its bright petals had 
fallen on her cheeks. ' Why, am I changed ? ' 
she questioned me. 

* Yes, you are changed,' I answered in a low 
voice. 

313 



FIRST LOVE 

* I have been cold to you, I know,' began 
Zinaida, ' but you mustn't pay attention to that 
. . . I couldn't help it. . . . Come, why talk 
about it ! ' 

* You don't want me to love you, that 's what it 
is ! ' I cried gloomily, in an involuntary outburst. 

* No, love me, but not as you did.' 
' How then ? ' 

' Let us be friends — come now ! ' Zinaida 
gave me the rose to smell. ' Listen, you know 
I 'm much older than you — I might be your 
aunt, really ; well, not your aunt, but an older 
sister. And you . . .' 

* You think me a child,' I interrupted. 

' Well, yes, a child, but a dear, good clever 
one, whom I love very much. Do you know 
what? From this day forth I confer on you 
the rank of page to me ; and don't you forget 
that pages have to keep close to their ladies. 
Here is the token of your new dignity,' she 
added, sticking the rose in the buttonhole of 
my jacket, ' the token of my favour.' 

* I once received other favours from you,' I 
muttered. 

* Ah ! ' commented Zinaida, and she gave me 
a sidelong look, * What a memory he has ! 
Well ? I 'm quite ready now . . .' And stoop- 
ing to me, she imprinted on my forehead a pure, 
tranquil kiss. 

314 



FIRST LOVE 

I only looked at her, while she turned away, 
and saying, ' Follow me, my page,' went into 
the lodge. I followed her — all in amazement. 

* Can this gentle, reasonable girl,' I thought, 

* be the Zinaida I used to know ? ' I fancied 
her very walk was quieter, her whole figure 
statelier and more graceful . . . 

And, mercy ! with what fresh force love 
burned within me ! 



XVI 

After dinner the usual party assembled again 
at the lodge, and the young princess came out 
to them. All were there in full force, just as 
on that first evening which I never forgot ; even 
Nirmatsky had limped to see her; Meidanov 
came this time earliest of all, he brought some 
new verses. The games of forfeits began again, 
but without the strange pranks, the practical 
jokes and noise — the gipsy element had 
vanished. Zinaida gave a different tone to the 
proceedings. I sat beside her by virtue of my 
office as page. Among other things, she pro- 
posed that any one who had to pay a forfeit 
should tell his dream ; but this was not success- 
ful. The dreams were either uninteresting 
315 



FIRST LOVE 

(Byelovzorov had dreamed that he fed his 
mare on carp, and that she had a wooden head), 
or unnatural and invented. Meidanov regaled 
us with a regular romance ; there were 
sepulchres in it, and angels with lyres, and 
talking flowers and music wafted from afar. 
Zinaida did not let him finish. 'If we are to 
have compositions,' she said, ' let every one tell 
something made up, and no pretence about it* 
The first who had to speak was again Byelov- 
zorov. 

The young hussar was confused. ' I can't 
make up anything ! ' he cried. 

'What nonsense!' said Zinaida. 'Well, 
imagine, for instance, you are married, and tell 
us how you would treat your wife. Would you 
lock her up ? ' 

* Yes, I should lock her up.' 

'And would you stay with her yourself?' 

'Yes, I should certainly stay with her 
myself 

'Very good. Well, but if she got sick of 
that, and she deceived you ? ' 

' I should kill her.' 

' And if she ran away ? ' 

* I should catch her up and kill her all the 
same.' 

' Oh. And suppose now I were your wife, 
what would you do then ? ' 
316 



FIRST LOVE 

Byelovzorov was silent a minute. ' I should 
kill myself. . . .' 

Zinaida laughed. ' I see yours is not a long 
story.' 

The next forfeit was Zinaida's. She looked 
at the ceiling and considered. ' Well, listen, 
she began at last, * what I have thought of. . . . 
Picture to yourselves a magnificent palace, a 
summer night, and a marvellous ball. This 
ball is given by a young queen. Everywhere 
gold and marble, crystal, silk, lights, diamonds, 
flowers, fragrant scents, every caprice of luxury.' 

* You love luxury ? ' Lushin interposed. 

' Luxury is beautiful,' she retorted ; ' I love 
everything beautiful.' 

' More than what is noble ? ' he asked. 

'That's something clever, I don't understand 
it. Don't interrupt me. So the ball is magni- 
ficent. There are crowds of guests, all of them 
are young, handsome, and brave, all are franti- 
cally in love with the queen.' 

' Are there no women among the guests ? ' 
queried Malevsky. 

* No — or wait a minute — yes, there are some.' 
' Are they all ugly ? ' 

' No, charming. But the men are all in love 
with the queen. She is tall and graceful ; she 
has a little gold diadem on her black hair.' 

I looked at Zinaida, and at that instant she 
317 



FIRST LOVE 

seemed to me so much above all of us, there 
was such bright intelligence, and such power 
about her unruffled brows, that I thought : 

* You are that queen ! ' 

*They all throng about her,' Zinaida went on, 

* and all lavish the most flattering speeches 
upon her.' 

' And she likes flattery ? ' Lushin queried. 

* What an intolerable person ! he keeps inter- 
rupting . . . who doesn't like flattery ? ' 

' One more last question,' observed Malevsky, 
' has the queen a husband ? ' 

' I hadn't thought about that. No, why 
should she have a husband ? ' 

' To be sure,' assented Malevsky, * why should 
she have a husband ? ' 

^Silence!' cried Meidanov in French, which 
he spoke very badly. 

^ Merci !' Zinaida said to him. 'And so the 
queen hears their speeches, and hears the music, 
but does not look at one of the guests. Six 
windows are open from top to bottom, from 
floor to ceiling, and beyond them is a dark sky 
with big stars, a dark garden with big trees. 
The queen gazes out into the garden. Out 
there among the trees is a fountain ; it is white 
in the darkness, and rises up tall, tall as an 
apparition. The queen hears, through the talk 
and the music, the soft splash of its waters. 
318 



FIRST LOVE \^ 

She gazes and thinks : you are all, gentlemen, 
noble, clever, and rich, you crowd round me, 
you treasure every word I utter, you are all 
ready to die at my feet, I hold you in my 
power . . . but out there, by the fountain, by 
that splashing water, stands and waits he whom 
I love, who holds me in his power. He has 
neither rich raiment nor precious stones, no 
one knows him, but he awaits me, and is cer- 
tain I shall come — and I shall come — and there 
is no power that could stop me when I want to 
go out to him, and to stay with him, and be 
lost with him out there in the darkness of the 
garden, under the whispering of the trees, and 
the splash of the fountain . . .' Zinaida ceased. 

'Is that a made-up story?' Malevsky in- 
quired slyly. Zinaida did not even look at him. 

* And what should we have done, gentlemen ?' 
Lushin began suddenly, ' if we had been among 
the guests, and had known of the lucky fellow 
at the fountain ? ' 

' Stop a minute, stop a minute,' interposed 
Zuiaida, ' I will tell you myself what each of 
you would have done. You, Byelovzorov, 
would have challenged him to a duel ; you, 
Meidanov, would have written an epigram on 
him. . . . No, though, you can't write epi- 
grams, you would have made up a long poem 
on him in the style of Barbier, and would have 
319 






FIRST LOVE 

inserted your production in the Telegraph. You, 
Nirmatsky, would have borrowed ... no, you 
would have lent him money at high interest ; 
I you, doctor, . . .' she stopped. ' There, I really 
' don't know what you would have done. . . .' 

' In the capacity of court physician/ answered 
Lushin, ' I would have advised the queen not to 
give balls when she was not in the humour for 
entertaining her guests. . . .' 

'• Perhaps you would have been right. And 
you, Count ? . . .' 

' And I ? ' repeated Malevsky with his evil 
smile. . . . 

* You would offer him a poisoned sweetmeat.' 

Malevsky's face changed slightly, and as- 
sumed for an instant a Jewish expression, but 
he laughed directly. 

' And as for you, Voldemar, . . .' Zinaida 
went on, ' but that 's enough, though ; let us 
play another game.' 

' M'sieu Voldemar, as the queen's page, would 
have held up her train when she ran into the 
garden,' Malevsky remarked malignantly. 

I was crimson with anger, but Zinaida 
hurriedly laid a hand on my shoulder, and get- 
ting up, said in a rather shaky voice : ' I have 
never given your excellency the right to be 
y rude, and therefore I will ask you to leave us.' 
\ She pointed to the door. 

320 



FIRST LOVE 

' Upon my word, princess,' muttered Malev- 
sky, and he turned quite pale. 

' The princess is right,' cried Byelovzorov, 
and he too rose. 

' Good God, I 'd not the least idea,' Malevsky 
went on, * in my words there was nothing, I 
think, that could . . . I had no notion of offend- 
ing you. . . . Forgive me.' 

Zinaida looked him up and down coldly, and 
coldly smiled. * Stay, then, certainly,' she pro- 
nounced with a careless gesture of her arm. 
' M'sieu Voldemar and I were needlessly in- 
censed. It is your pleasure to sting . . . may 
it do you good.' 

' Forgive me,' Malevsky repeated once more ; 
while I, my thoughts dwelling on Zinaida's 
gesture, said to myself again that no real queen 
could with greater dignity have shown a pre- 
sumptuous subject to the door. 

The game of forfeits went on for a short time 
after this little scene ; every one felt rather ill 
at ease, not so much on account of this scene, 
as from another, not quite definite, but oppres- 
sive feeling. No one spoke of it, but every one 
was conscious of it in himself and in his 
neighbour. Meidanov read us his verses ; 
and Malevsky praised them with exaggerated 
warmth. * He wants to show how good he is 
now,' Lushin whispered to me. We soon broke 
X 321 



FIRST LOVE 

up. A mood of reverie seemed to have come 
upon Zinaida ; the old princess sent word that 
she had a headache ; Nirmatsky began to com- 
plain of his rheumatism. . . . 

I could not for a long while get to sleep. I 
had been impressed by Zinaida's story. * Can 
there have been a hint in it?' I asked myself: 
'and at whom and at what was she hinting? 
And if there really is anything to hint at . . . 
how is one to make up one's mind ? No, no, it 
can't be,' I whispered, turning over from one hot 
cheek on to the other. . . . But I remembered 
the expression of Zinaida's face during her 
story. ... I remembered the exclamation 
that had broken from Lushin in the Nes- 
kutchny gardens, the sudden change in her 
behaviour to me, and I was lost in conjectures. 
' Who is he ? ' These three words seemed to 
stand before my eyes traced upon the darkness ; 
a lowering malignant cloud seemed hanging 
over me, and I felt its oppressiveness, and 
waited for it to break. I had grown used to 
many things of late ; I had learned much from 
what I had seen at the Zasyckins ; their dis- 
orderly ways, tallow candle-ends, broken knives 
and forks, grumpy Vonifaty, and shabby maid- 
servants, the manners of the old princess — all 
their strange mode of life no longer struck me. 
. . . But what I was dimly discerning now in 



FIRST LOVE 

Zinaida, I could never get used to. . . . * An 
adventuress ! ' my mother had said of her one 
day. An adventuress — she, my idol, my 
divinity? This word stabbed me, I tried to 
get away from it into my pillow, I was indig- 
nant — and at the same time what would I not 
have agreed to, what would I not have given 
only to be that lucky fellow at the fountain ! . . . 
My blood was on fire and boiling within me. 
'The garden . .»-. the fountain,' I mused. . . . 
* I will go into the garden.' I dressed quickly 
and slipped out of the house. The night was 
dark, the trees scarcely whispered, a soft chill 
air breathed down from the sky, a smell of 
fennel trailed across from the kitchen garden. 
I went through all the walks ; the light sound 
of my own footsteps at once confused and 
emboldened me; I stood still, waited and heard 
my heart beating fast and loudly. At last I 
went up to the fence and leaned against the 
thin bar. Suddenly, or was it my fancy, a 
woman's figure flashed by, a few paces from 
me ... I strained my eyes eagerly into 
the darkness, I held my breath. What was 
that? Did I hear steps, or was it my heart 
beating again? 'Who is here?' I faltered, 
hardly audibly. What was that again, a 
smothered laugh ... or a rustling in the 
leaves ... or a sigh just at my ear? I felt 
323 



FIRST LOVE 

afraid ... * Who is here ? ' I repeated still 
more softly. 

The air blew in a gust for an instant ; a 
streak of fire flashed across the sky ; it was a 
star falling. * Zinai'da ? ' I wanted to call, but 
the word died away on my lips. And all at 
once everything became profoundly still around, 
as is often the case in the middle of the night. 
. . . Even the grasshoppers ceased their churr 
in the trees — only a window rattled somewhere. 
I stood and stood, and then went back to my 
room, to my chilled bed. I felt a strange sen- 
sation ; as though I had gone to a tryst, and 
had been left lonely, and had passed close by 
another's happiness. 



XVII 

The following day I only had a passing 
glimpse of Zinaida : she was driving some- 
where with the old princess in a cab. But I 
saw Lushin, who, however, barely vouchsafed 
me a greeting, and Malevsky. The young 
count grinned, and began affably talking to 
me. Of all those who visited at the lodge, he 
alone had succeeded in forcing his way into 
our house, and had favourably impressed my 
324 



FIRST LOVE 

mother. My father did not take to him, and 
treated him with a civility almost insulting. 

' Ah, monsieur le page', began Malevsky, 
'delighted to meet you. What is your lovely 
queen doing ? ' 

His fresh handsome face was so detestable 
to me at that moment, and he looked at me 
with such contemptuous amusement that I did 
not answer him at all. 

* Are you still angry ? ' he went on. ' You 've 
no reason to be. It wasn't I who called you a 
page, you know, and pages attend queens 
especially. But allow me to remark that you 
perform your duties very badly.' 

* How so ? ' 

' Pages ought to be inseparable from their 
mistresses ; pages ought to know everything 
they do, they ought, indeed, to watch over them,' 
he added, lowering his voice, ' day and night.' 

* What do you mean .'' ' 

' What do I mean ? I express myself pretty 
clearly, I fancy. Day and night. By day it 's 
not so much matter ; it 's light, and people 
are about in the daytime ; but by night, then 
look out for misfortune. I advise you not to 
sleep at nights and to watch, watch with all 
your energies. You remember, in the garden, 
by night, at the fountain, that 's where there's 
need to look out. You will thank me.' 
325 



FIRST LOVE 

Malevsky laughed and turned his back on me. 
He, most likely, attached no great importance 
to what he had said to me, he had a reputation 
for mystifying, and was noted for his power of 
taking people in at masquerades, which was 
greatly augmented by the almost unconscious 
falsity in which his whole nature was steeped. 
. . . He only wanted to tease me ; but every 
word he uttered was a poison that ran through 
my veins. The blood rushed to my head. 
'Ah! so that's it ! ' I said to myself; 'good! 
So there was reason for me to feel drawn into 
the garden ! That shan't be so ! ' I cried aloud, 
and struck myself on the chest with my fist, 
though precisely what should not be so I could 
not have said. ' Whether Malevsky himself 
goes into the garden,' I thought (he was brag- 
ging, perhaps ; he has insolence enough for 
that), ' or some one else (the fence of our garden 
was very low, and there was no difficulty in 
getting over it), anyway, if any one falls into 
my hands, it will be the worse for him ! I don't 
advise any one to meet me ! I will prove to 
all the world and to her, the traitress (I actually 
used the word 'traitress') that I can be revenged ! 

I returned to my own room, took out of the 

writing-table an English knife I had recently 

bought, felt its sharp edge, and knitting my 

brows with an air of cold and concentrated 

326 



FIRST LOVE 

determination, thrust it into my pocket, as 
though doing such deeds was nothing out of 
the way for me, and not the first time. My 
heart heaved angrily, and felt heavy as a stone. 
All day long I kept a scowling brow and lips 
tightly compressed, and was continually walking 
up and down, clutching, with my hand in my 
pocket, the knife, which was warm from my 
grasp, while I prepared myself beforehand for 
something terrible. These new unknown sen- 
sations so occupied and even delighted me, 
that I hardly thought of Zinaida herself. I 
was continually haunted by Aleko, the young 
gipsy — ' Where art thou going, young hand- 
some man ? Lie there,' and then, ' thou art all 
besprent with blood, . . . Oh, what hast thou 
done ? . . . Naught ! ' With what a cruel smile 
I repeated that 'Naught!' My father was not at 
home ; but my mother, who had for some time 
past been in an almost continual state of dumb 
exasperation, noticed my gloomy and heroic 
aspect, and said to me at supper, ' Why are 
you sulking like a mouse in a meal-tub?' I 
merely smiled condescendingly in reply, and 
thought, ' If only they knew 1' It struck eleven ; 
I went to my room, but did not undress ; I 
waited for midnight ; at last it struck. * The 
time has come!' I muttered between my teeth; 
and buttoning myself up to the throat, and 
327 



FIRST LOVE 

even pulling my sleeves up, I went into the 
garden. 

I had already fixed on the spot from which 
to keep watch. At the end of the garden, at 
the point where the fence, separating our domain 
from the Zasyekins,' joined the common wall, 
grew a pine-tree, standing alone. Standing 
under its low thick branches, I could see well, 
as far as the darkness of the night permitted, 
what took place around. Close by, ran a 
winding path which had always seemed mys- 
terious to me ; it coiled like a snake under the 
fence, which at that point bore traces of having 
been climbed over, and led to a round arbour 
formed of thick acacias. I made my way to 
the pine-tree, leaned my back against its trunk, 
and began my watch. 

The night was as still as the night before, 
but there were fewer clouds in the sky, and the 
outlines of bushes, even of tall flowers, could be 
more distinctly seen. The first moments of 
expectation were oppressive, almost terrible. 
I had made up my mind to everything. I 
only debated how to act ; whether to thunder, 
* Where goest thou ? Stand ! show thyself — 
or death ! ' or simply to strike. . . . Every 
sound, every whisper and rustle, seemed to me 
portentous and extraordinary. ... I prepared 
myself ... I bent forward. . . . But half-an- 
328 



FIRST LOVE 

hour passed, an hour passed ; my blood had 
grown quieter, colder ; the consciousness that 
I was doing all this for nothing, that I was 
even a little absurd, that IMalcvsky had been 
making fun of me, began to steal over me. I 
left my ambush, and walked all about the 
garden. As if to taunt me, there was not the 
smallest sound to be heard anywhere ; every- 
thing was at rest. Even our dog was asleep, 
curled up into a ball at the gate. I climbed up 
into the ruins of the greenhouse, saw the open 
country far away before me, recalled my meet- 
ing with Zinaida, and fell to dreaming. . . . 

I started. ... I fancied I heard the creak of 
a door opening, then the faint crack of a 
broken twig. In two bounds I got down from 
the ruin, and stood still, all aghast. Rapid, 
light, but cautious footsteps sounded distinctly 
in the garden. They were approaching me. 
' Here he is . . . here he is, at last ! ' flashed 
through my heart. With spasmodic haste, I 
pulled the knife out of my pocket ; with spas- 
modic haste, I opened it. Flashes of red were 
whirling before my eyes ; my hair stood up on 
my head in my fear and fury. . . . The steps 
were coming straight towards me ; I bent — I 
craned forward to meet him. ... A man came 
into view. . . . My God ! it was my father ! 

I recognised him at once, though he was all 
329 



FIRST LOVE 

muffled up in a dark cloak, and his hat was 
pulled down over his face. On tip-toe he 
walked by. He did not notice me, though 
nothing concealed me ; but I was so huddled 
up and shrunk together that I fancy I was 
almost on the level of the ground. The jealous 
Othello, ready for murder, was suddenly trans- 
formed into a school-boy. ... I was so taken 
aback by my father's unexpected appearance 
that for the first moment I did not notice 
where he had come from or in what direction 
he disappeared. I only drew myself up, and 
thought, ' Why is it my father is walking 
about in the garden at night ? ' when everything 
was still again. In my horror I had dropped 
my knife in the grass, but I did not even 
attempt to look for it ; I was very much 
ashamed of myself I was completely sobered 
at once. On my way to the house, however, 
I went up to my seat under the elder-tree, and 
looked up at Zinaida's window. The small 
slightly-convex panes of the window shone 
dimly blue in the faint light thrown on them 
by the night sky. All at once — their colour 
began to change. . . . Behind them — I saw 
this, saw it distinctly — softly and cautiously a 
white blind was let down, let down right to the 
window-frame, and so stayed. 

* What is that for ? ' I said aloud almost 
330 



FIRST LOVE 

involuntarily when I found myself once more 
in my room. ' A dream, a chance, or . . .' 
The suppositions which suddenly rushed into 
my head were so new and strange that I did 
not dare to entertain them. 

XVIII 

I GOT up in the morning with a headache. My 
emotion of the previous day had vanished. It 
was replaced by a dreary sense of blankness 
and a sort of sadness I had not known till then, 
as though something had died in me. 

' Why is it you 're looking like a rabbit with 
half its brain removed ? ' said Lushin on meet- 
ing me. At lunch I stole a look first at my 
father, then at my mother : he was composed, 
as usual ; she was, as usual, secretly irritated. 
I waited to see whether my father would make 
some friendly remarks to me, as he sometimes 
did. . . . But he did not even bestow his every- 
day cold greeting upon me. ' Shall I tell 
Zinaida all ? ' I wondered. . . . ' It's all the 
same, anyway ; all is at an end between us.' I 
went to see her, but told her nothing, and, indeed, 
I could not even have managed to get a talk 
with her if I had wanted to. The old princess's 
son, a cadet of twelve years old, had come 
from Petersburg for his holidays ; Zinaida at 
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FIRST LOVE 

once handed her brother over to me. ' Here/ 
she said, ' my dear Volodya/ — it was the first 
time she had used this pet-name to me — * is a 
companion for you. His name is Volodya, too. 
Please, like him ; he is still shy, but he has a 
good heart. Show him Neskutchny gardens, 
go walks with him, take him under your pro- 
tection. You '11 do that, won't you ? you 're so 
good, too ! ' She laid both her hands affection- 
ately on my shoulders, and I was utterly be- 
wildered. The presence of this boy transformed 
me, too, into a boy. I looked in silence at the 
cadet, who stared as silently at me. Zinaida 
laughed, and pushed us towards each other. 
' Embrace each other, children ! ' We embraced 
each other. * Would you like me to show you 
the garden ? ' I inquired of the cadet. * If you 
please,' he replied, in the regular cadet's hoarse 
voice. Zinaida laughed again. ... I had time 
to notice that she had never had such an 
exquisite colour in her face before. I set off 
with the cadet. There was an old-fashioned 
swing in our garden. I sat him down on the 
narrow plank seat, and began swinging him. 
He sat rigid in his new little uniform of stout 
cloth, with its broad gold braiding, and kept 
tight hold of the cords. ' You 'd better un- 
button your collar,' I said to him. ' It 's all 
right ; we 're used to it,' he said, and cleared 
332 



FIRST LOVE ▼ 

his throat. He was like his sister. The eyes 
especially recalled her. I liked being nice to 
him ; and at the same time an aching sadness 
was gnawing at my heart. ' Now I certainly 
am a child/ I thought ; * but yesterday. . . .' 
I remembered where I had dropped my knife 
the night before, and looked for it. The cadet 
asked me for it, picked a thick stalk of wild 
parsley, cut a pipe out of it, and began whist- 
ling. Othello whistled too. 

But in the evening how he wept, this Othello, 
in Zinaida's arms, when, seeking him out in a 
corner of the garden, she asked him why he 
was so depressed. My tears flowed with such 
violence that she was frightened. ' What is 
wrong with you ? What is it, Volodya ? ' she 
repeated ; and seeing I made no answer, and 
did not cease weeping, she was about to kiss my 
wet cheek. But I turned away from her, and 
whispered through my sobs, * I know all. Why 
did you play with me ? . . . What need had you 
of my love ? ' 

' I am to blame, Volodya . . .' said Zinaida. 
* I am very much to blame . . .' she added, 
wringing her hands. ' How much there is bad 
and black and sinful in me ! . . . But I am not 
playing with you now. I love you ; you don't 
even suspect why and how. . . . But what is it 
you know ? ' 

33^ 



^ FIRST LOVE 

What could I say to her ? She stood facing 
me, and looked at me ; and I belonged to her 
altogether from head to foot directly she looked 
at me. ... A quarter of an hour later I was 
running races with the cadet and Zinaida. I 
was not crying, I was laughing, though my 
swollen eyelids dropped a tear or two as I 
laughed. I had Zinaida's ribbon round my 
neck for a cravat, and I shouted with delight 
whenever I succeeded in catching her round 
the waist. She did just as she liked with me. 



XIX 

I SHOULD be in a great difficulty, if I were 
forced to describe exactly what passed within 
me in the course of the week after my unsuc- 
cessful midnight expedition. It was a strange 
feverish time, a sort of chaos, in which the 
most violently opposed feelings, thoughts, sus- 
picions, hopes, joys, and sufferings, whirled 
together in a kind of hurricane. I was afraid 
to look into myself, if a boy of sixteen ever can 
look into himself; I was afraid to take stock of 
anything ; I simply hastened to live through 
every day till evening ; and at night I slept 
. . . the light-heartedness of childhood came to 
my aid. I did not want to know whether I was 
334 



FIRST LOVE W 

loved, and I did not want to acknowledge to 
myself that I was not loved ; my father I 
avoided — but Zinaida I could not avoid. . . . 
I burnt as in a fire in her presence . . . but 
what did I care to know what the fire was in 
which I burned and melted — it was enough that 
it was sweet to burn and melt. I gave myself 
up to all my passing sensations, and cheated 
myself, turning away from memories, and 
shutting my eyes to what I foreboded before 
me. . . . This weakness would not most likely 
have lasted long in any case ... a thunderbolt 
cut it all short in a moment, and flung me into 
a new track altogether. 

Coming in one day to dinner from a rather 
long walk, I learnt with amazement that I was 
to dine alone, that my father had gone away 
and my mother was unwell, did not want any 
dinner, and had shut herself up in her bed- 
room. From the faces of the footmen, I 
surmised that something extraordinary had 
taken place. ... I did not dare to cross- 
examine them, but I had a friend in the young 
waiter Philip, who was passionately fond of 
poetry, and a performer on the guitar. I 
addressed myself to him. From him I learned 
that a terrible scene had taken place between 
my father and mother (and every word had 
been overheard in the maids' room ; much of it 
335 



FIRST LOVE 

had been in French, but Masha the lady's-maid 
had lived five years' with a dressmaker from 
Paris, and she understood it all) ; that my 
mother had reproached my father with infidelity, 
with an intimacy with the young lady next 
door, that my father at first had defended him- 
self, but afterwards had lost his temper, and he 
too had said something cruel, ' reflecting on her 
age,' which had made my mother cry ; that my 
mother too had alluded to some loan which it 
seemed had been made to the old princess, 
and had spoken very ill of her and of the young 
lady too, and that then my father had threatened 
her. ' And all the mischief,' continued Philip, 
* came from an anonymous letter ; and who 
wrote it, no one knows, or else there 'd have 
been no reason whatever for the matter to have 
come out at all.' 

* But was there really any ground,' I brought 
out with difficulty, while my hands and feet 
went cold, and a sort of shudder ran through 
my inmost being. 

Philip winked meaningly. 'There was. 
There 's no hiding those things ; for all that 
your father was careful this time — but there, 
you see, he 'd, for instance, to hire a carriage or 
something ... no getting on without servants, 
either.' 

I dismissed Philip, and fell on to my bed. I 
336 



FIRST LOVE 

did not sob, I did not give myself up to despair ; 
I did not ask myself when and how this had 
happened ; I did not wonder how it was I had 
not guessed it before, long ago ; I did not even 
upbraid my father. . . . What I had learnt was 
more than I could take in ; this sudden revela- 
tion stunned me. . . . All was at an end. All 
the fair blossoms of my heart were roughly 
plucked at once, and lay about me, flung on the 
ground, and trampled underfoot. 



XX 



My mother next day announced her intention 
of returning to the town. In the morning my 
father had gone into her bedroom, and stayed 
there a long while alone with her. No one had 
overheard what he said to her ; but my mother 
wept no more ; she regained her composure, 
and asked for food, but did not make her 
appearance nor change her plans. I remember 
I wandered about the whole day, but did not go 
into the garden, and never once glanced at the 
lodge, and in the evening I was the spectator 
of an amazing occurrence : my father con- 
ducted Count Malevsky by the arm through the 
dining-room into the hall, and, in the presence 
of a footman, said icily to him : ' A few days 

Y 3^7 



FIRST LOVE 

ago your excellency was shown the door in our 
house ; and now I am not going to enter into 
any kind of explanation with you, but I have 
the honour to announce to you that if you ever 
visit me again, I shall throw you out of window. 
I don't like your handwriting.' The count 
bowed, bit his lips, shrank away, and vanished. 
Preparations were beginning for our removal 
to town, to Arbaty Street, where we had a 
house. My father himself probably no longer 
cared to remain at the country house; but clearly 
he had succeeded in persuading my mother not 
to make a public scandal. Everything was 
done quietly, without hurry ; my mother even 
sent her compliments to the old princess, and 
expressed her regret that she was prevented by 
indisposition from seeing her again before her 
departure. I wandered about like one pos- 
sessed, and only longed for one thing, for it all 
to be over as soon as possible. One thought 
I could not get out of my head : how could she, 
a young girl, and a princess too, after all, bring 
herself to such a step, knowing that my father 
was not a free man, and having an opportunity 
of marrying, for instance, Byelovzorov? What 
did she hope for ? How was it she was not 
afraid of ruining her whole future? Yes, I 
thought, this is love, this is passion, this is 
devotion . . . and Lushin's words came back 
338 



FIRST LOVE 

to me : to sacrifice oneself for some people is 
sweet. I chanced somehow to catch sight of 
something white in one of the windows of the 
lodge. . . . ' Can it be Zinaida's face ? ' I 
thought . . . yes, it really was her face. 
I could not restrain myself. I could not part 
from her without saying a last good-bye to 
her. I seized a favourable instant, and went 
into the lodge. 

In the drawing-room the old princess met me 
with her usual slovenly and careless greetings. 

* How 's this, my good man, your folks are off 
in such a hurry ? ' she observed, thrusting snuff 
into her nose. I looked at her, and a load was 
taken off my heart. The word * loan,' dropped 
by Philip, had been torturing me. She had no 
suspicion ... at least I thought so then. 
Zinaida came in from the next room, pale, and 
dressed in black, with her hair hanging loose ; 
she took me by the hand without a word, and 
drew me away with her. 

' I heard your voice,' she began, ' and came 
out at once. Is it so easy for you to leave us, 
bad boy ? ' 

' I have come to say good-bye to you, 
princess,' I answered, ' probably for ever. You 
have heard, perhaps, we are going away.' 

Zinaida looked intently at me. 

'Yes, I have heard. Thanks for coming. I 
339 



FIRST LOVE 

was beginning to think I should not see you 
again. Don't remember evil against me. I 
have sometimes tormented you, but all the 
same I am not what you imagine me.' 

She turned away, and leaned against the 
window. 

'Really, I am not like that. I know you 
have a bad opinion of me.' 

' Yes, you . . . you.' 

* I ? ' I repeated mournfully, and my heart 
throbbed as of old under the influence of her 
overpowering, indescribable fascination. ' I ? 
Believe me, Zinaida Alexandrovna, whatever 
you did, however you tormented me, I should 
love and adore you to the end of my days.' 

She turned with a rapid motion to me, and 
flinging wide her arms, embraced my head, and 
gave me a warm and passionate kiss. God 
knows whom that long farewell kiss was seek- 
ing, but I eagerly tasted its sweetness. I knew 
that it would never be repeated. * Good-bye, 
good-bye,' I kept saying . . . 

She tore herself away, and went out. And 
I went away. I cannot describe the emotion 
with which I went away. I should not wish it 
ever to come again ; but I should think myself 
unfortunate had I never experienced such an 
emotion. 

340 



FIRST LOVE 

We went back to town. I did not quickly 
shake off the past ; I did not quickly get to 
work. My wound slowly began to heal ; but I 
had no ill-feeling against my father. On the 
contrary he had, as it were, gained in my 
eyes ... let psychologists explain the contra- 
diction as best they can. One day I was 
walking along a boulevard, and to my inde- 
scribable delight, I came across Lushin. I liked 
him for his straightforward and unaffected 
character, and besides he was dear to me for the 
sake of the memories he aroused in me. I 
rushed up to him. ' Aha ! ' he said, knitting 
his brows, * so it 's you, young man. Let me have 
a look at you. You 're still as yellow as ever, but 
yet there's not the same nonsense in your eyes. 
You look like a man, not a lap-dog. That's 
good. Well, what are you doing ? working?' 

I gave a sigh. I did not like to tell a lie, 
while I was ashamed to tell the truth. 

* Well, never mind,' Lushin went on, * don't be 
shy. The great thing is to lead a normal life, 
and not be the slave of your passions. What 
do you get if not? Wherever you are carried 
by the tide — it 's all a bad look-out ; a man 
must stand on his own feet, if he can get nothing 
but a rock to stand on. Here, I 've got a 
cough . . . and Byelovzorov — have you heard 
anything of him?' 

341 



FIRST LOVE 

*No. What is it?' 

* He 's lost, and no news of him ; they say 
he 's gone away to the Caucasus. A lesson to 
you, young man. And it 's all from not knowing 
how to part in time, to break out of the net. 
You seem to have got off very well. Mind you 
don't fall into the same snare again. Good- 
bye.' 

* I shan't/ I thought. ... * I shan't see her 
again.' But I was destined to see Zinaida 
once more. 



XXI 

My father used every day to ride out on horse- 
back. He had a splendid English mare, a 
chestnut piebald, with a long slender neck and 
long legs, an inexhaustible and vicious beast. 
Her name was Electric. No one could ride her 
except my father. One day he came up to me 
in a good humour, a frame of mind in which I 
had not seen him for a long while ; he was 
getting ready for his ride, and had already put 
on his spurs. I began entreating him to take 
me with him. 

* We 'd much better have a game of leap- 
frog,' my father replied. ' You '11 never keep up 
with me on your cob.' 

342 



FIRST LOVE 

'Yes, I will ; I '11 put on spurs too.' 

'All right, come along then.' 

We set off. I had a shaggy black horse, 
strong, and fairly spirited. It is true it had to 
gallop its utmost, when Electric went at full 
trot, still I was not left behind. I have never 
seen any one ride like my father ; he had such 
a fine carelessly easy seat, that it seemed that 
the horse under him was conscious of it, and 
proud of its rider. We rode through all the 
boulevards, reached the 'Maidens' Field,' jumped 
several fences (at first I had been afraid to take 
a leap, but my father had a contempt for 
cowards, and I soon ceased to feel fear), twice 
crossed the river Moskva, and I was under the 
impression that we were on our way home, 
especially as my father of his own accord 
observed that my horse was tired, when suddenly 
he turned off away from me at the Crimean 
ford, and galloped along the river-bank. I rode 
after him. When he had reached a high stack 
of old timber, he slid quickly off Electric, told 
me to dismount, and giving me his horse's 
bridle, told me to wait for him there at the 
timber-stack, and, turning off into a small street, 
disappeared. I began walking up and down 
the river-bank, leading the horses, and scolding 
Electric, who kept pulling, shaking her head, 
snorting and neighing as she went ; and when 
343 



FIRST LOVE 

I Stood Still, never failed to paw the ground, 
and whining, bite my cob on the neck ; in fact 
she conducted herself altogether like a spoilt 
thorough-bred. My father did not come back. 
A disagreeable damp mist rose from the river ; 
a fine rain began softly blowing up, and 
spotting with tiny dark flecks the stupid grey 
timber-stack, which I kept passing and repass- 
ing, and was deadly sick of by now. I was 
terribly bored, and still my father did not come. 
A sort of sentry-man, a Fin, grey all over like 
the timber, and with a huge old-fashioned 
shako, like a pot, on his head, and with a hal- 
berd (and how ever came a sentry, if you think 
of it, on the banks of the Moskva !) drew near, 
and turning his wrinkled face, like an old 
woman's, towards me, he observed, ' What are 
you doing here with the horses, young master ? 
Let me hold them.' 

I made him no reply. He asked me for 
tobacco. To get rid of him (I was in a fret of 
impatience, too), I took a few steps in the 
direction in which my father had disappeared, 
then walked along the little street to the end, 
turned the corner, and stood still. In the street, 
forty paces from me, at jthe open window of a 
little wooden house, stood my father, his back 
turned to me ; he was leaning forward over the 
window-sill, and in the house, half hidden by a 
344 



FIRST LOVE 

curtain, sat a woman in a dark dress talking 
to my father ; this woman was Zinaida. 

I was petrified. This, I confess, I had never 
expected. My first impulse was to run away. 
* My father will look round,' I thought, ' and I 
am lost . . .' but a strange feeling — a feeling 
stronger than curiosity, stronger than jealousy, 
stronger even than fear — held me there. I 
began to watch ; I strained my ears to listen. 
It seemed as though my father were insisting 
on something. Zinaida would not consent. I 
seem to see her face now — mournful, serious, 
lovely, and with an inexpressible impress of 
devotion, grief, love, and a sort of despair — I 
can find no other word for it. She uttered 
monosyllables, not raising her eyes, simply 
smiling — submissively, but without yielding. 
By that smile alone, I should have known my 
Zinaida of old days. My father shrugged his 
shoulders, and straightened his hat on his head, 
which was always a sign of impatience with 
him. . . . Then I caught the words : ' Voi/s 
devez votis separer de cette . . .' Zinaida sat 
up, and stretched out her arm. . . . Suddenly, 
before my very eyes, the impossible happened. 
My father suddenly lifted the whip, with which 
he had been switching the dust off his coat, and 
I heard a sharp blow on that arm, bare to the 
elbow. I could scarcely restrain myself from 
345 



FIRST LOVE 

crying out ; while Zinaida shuddered, looked 
without a word at my father, and slowly raising 
her arm to her lips, kissed the streak of red 
upon it. My father flung away the whip, and 
running quickly up the steps, dashed into the 
house. . . . Zinaida turned round, and with out- 
stretched arms and downcast head, she too 
moved away from the window. 

My heart sinking with panic, with a sort of 
awe-struck horror, I rushed back, and running 
down the lane, almost letting go my hold of 
Electric, went back to the bank of the river. I 
could not think clearly of anything. I knew 
that my cold and reserved father was some- 
times seized by fits of fury ; and all the same, 
I could never comprehend what I had just 
seen. . . . But I felt at the time that, however 
long I lived, I could never forget the gesture, 
the glance, the smile, of Zinaida ; that her 
image, this image so suddenly presented to me, 
was imprinted for ever on my memory. I 
stared vacantly at the river, and never noticed 
that my tears were streaming. ' She is beaten,' 
I was thinking, . . . ' beaten . . . beaten. . . .' 

' Hullo ! what are you doing ? Give me the 
mare ! ' I heard my father's voice saying behind 
me. 

Mechanically I gave him the bridle. He 
leaped on to Electric . . . the mare, chill with 
346 



FIRST LOVE 

standing, reared on her haunches, and leaped 
ten feet away . . . but my father soon subdued 
her ; he drove the spurs into her sides, and 
gave her a blow on the neck with his fist. . . . 
' Ah, I Ve no whip,' he muttered. 

I remembered the swish and fall of the whip, 
heard so short a time before, and shuddered. 

' Where did you put it ? ' I asked my father, 
after a brief pause. 

My father made no answer, and galloped on 
ahead. I overtook him. I felt that I must see 
his face. 

* Were you bored waiting for me ? ' he mut- 
tered through his teeth. 

* A little. Where did you drop your whip ? ' 
I asked again. 

My father glanced quickly at me. ' I didn't 
drop it,' he replied ; ' I threw it away.' He 
sank into thought, and dropped his head . . . 
and then, for the first, and almost for the last 
time, I saw how much tenderness and pity his 
stern features were capable of expressing. 

He galloped on again, and this time I could 
not overtake him ; I got home a quarter-of-an- 
hour after him. 

* That's love,' I said to myself again, as I sat 
at night before my writing-table, on which 
books and papers had begun to make their 
appearance ; ' that 's passion ! ... To think of 

347 



FIRST LOVE 

not revolting, of bearing a blow from any one 
whatever . . . even the dearest hand ! But it 
seems one can, if one loves. . . . While I . . . 
I imagined . . .' 

I had grown much older during the last 
month ; and my love, with all its transports 
and sufferings, struck me myself as something 
small and childish and pitiful beside this other 
unimagined something, which I could hardly 
fully grasp, and which frightened me like an 
unknown, beautiful, but menacing face, which 
one strives in vain to make out clearly in the 
half-darkness. , . . 

A strange and fearful dream came to me that 
same night. I dreamed I went into a low dark 
room. . . . My father was standing with a whip 
in his hand, stamping with anger; in the corner 
crouched Zinaida, and not on her arm, but on 
her forehead, was a stripe of red . . . while 
behind them both towered Byelovzorov, covered 
with blood ; he opened his white lips, and 
wrathfully threatened my father. 

Two months later, I entered the university ; 
and within six months my father died of a 
stroke in Petersburg, where he had just moved 
with my mother and me. A few days before 
his death he received a letter from Moscow 
which threw him into a violent agitation. . . . 
He went to my mother to beg some favour of 
348 



FIRST LOVE 

her : and, I was told, he positively shed tears — 
he, my father ! On the very morning of the 
day when he was stricken down, he had begun 
a letter to me in French. ' My son,' he wrote 
to me, ' fear the love of woman ; fear that bliss, 
that poison. . . .' After his death, my mother 
sent a considerable sum of money to Moscow. 



XXII 

Four years passed. I had just left the univer- 
sity, and did not know exactly what to do with 
myself, at what door to knock ; I was hanging 
about for a time with nothing to do. One fine 
evening I met Meidanov at the theatre. He 
had got married, and had entered the civil 
service ; but I found no change in him. He 
fell into ecstasies in just the same superfluous 
way, and just as suddenly grew depressed 
again. 

* You know,' he told me among other things, 
' Madame Dolsky 's here.' 

' What Madame Dolsky ? ' — ^ 

' Can you have forgotten her ? — the young 
Princess Zasyekin whom we were all in love 
with, and you too. Do you remember at the 
country-house near Neskutchny gardens ? ' 

' She married a Dolsky ? ' 
349 



FIRST LOVE 

* Yes.' 

' And is she here, in the theatre ? ' 

' No : but she 's in Petersburg. She came 

here a few days ago. She 's going abroad.' 
' What sort of fellow is her husband ? ' I 

asked. 

* A splendid fellow, with property. He 's a 
colleague of mine in Moscow. You can well 
understand — after the scandal . . . you must 
know all about it ... ' (Meidanov smiled 
significantly) ' it was no easy task for her to 
make a good marriage ; there were consequences 
. . . but with her cleverness, everything is 
possible. Go and see her ; she '11 be delighted 
to see you. She 's prettier than ever.' 

Meidanov gave me Zinaida's address. She 
was staying at the Hotel Demut. Old memories 
were astir within me. ... I determined next 
day to go to see my former ' flame.' But 
some business happened to turn up ; a week 
passed, and then another, and when at last 
I went to the Hotel Demut and asked for 
Madame Dolsky, I learnt that four days before, 
she had died, almost suddenly, in childbirth. 

I felt a sort of stab at my heart. The thought 
that I might have seen her, and had not 
seen her, and should never see her — that bitter 
thought stung me with all the force of over- 
whelming reproach. * She is dead ! ' I repeated, 
350 



FIRST LOVE 

staring stupidly at the hall-porter. I slowly 
made my way back to the street, and walked 
on without knowing myself where I was going. 
All the past swam up and rose at once before 
me. So this was the solution, this was the goal 
to which that young, ardent, brilliant life had 
striven, all haste and agitation ! I mused on 
this ; I fancied those dear features, those eyes, 
those curls — in the narrow box, in the damp 
underground darkness — lying here, not far from 
me — while I was still alive, and, maybe, a few 
paces from my father. ... I thought all this ; 
I strained my imagination, and yet all the 
while the lines : 

* From lips indifferent of her death I heard. 
Indifferently I listened to it, too,' 
were echoing in my heart. O youth, youth ! 
little dost thou care for anything ; thou art 
master, as it were, of all the treasures of the 
universe — even sorrow gives thee pleasure, even 
grief thou canst turn to thy profit ; thou art 
self-confident and insolent ; thou sayest, ' I 
alone am living — look you ! ' — but thy days 
fly by all the while, and vanish without 
trace or reckoning ; and everything in thee 
vanishes, like wax in the sun, like snow. . . . 
And, perhaps, the whole secret of thy charm 
lies, not in being able to do anything, but in 
being able to think thou wilt do anything ; lies 
351 



FIRST LOVE 

just in thy throwing to the winds, forces which 
thou couldst not make other use of; in each 
of us gravely regarding himself as a prodigal, 
gravely supposing that he is justified in saying, 
' Oh, what might I not have done if I had not 
wasted my time ! ' 

I, now . . . what did I hope for, what did I 
expect, what rich future did I foresee, when 
the phantom of my first love, rising up for an 
instant, barely called forth one sigh, one mourn- 
ful sentiment ? 

And what has come to pass of all I hoped 
for ? And now, when the shades of evening 
begin to steal over my life, what have I left 
fresher, more precious, than the memories of 
the storm — so soon over — of early morning, of 
spring ? 

But I do myself injustice. Even then, in 
those light-hearted young days, I was not deaf 
to the voice of sorrow, when it called upon me, 
to the solemn strains floating to me from 
beyond the tomb. I remember, a few days 
after I heard of Zinaida's death, I was present, 
through a peculiar, irresistible impulse, at the 
death of a poor old woman who lived in the same 
house as we. Covered with rags, lying on hard 
boards, with a sack under her head, she died 
hardly and painfully. Her whole life had been 
passed in the bitter struggle with daily want ; 
352 



FIRST LOVE 

she had known no joy, had not tasted the 
honey of happiness. One would have thought, 
surely she would rejoice at death, at her de- 
liverance, her rest. But yet, as long as her 
decrepit body held out, as long as her breast 
still heaved in agony under the icy hand weigh- 
ing upon it, until her last forces left her, the old 
woman crossed herself, and kept whispering, 
* Lord, forgive my sins ' ; and only with the 
last spark of consciousness, vanished from her 
eyes the look of fear, of horror of the end. 
And I remember that then, by the death-bed 
of that poor old woman, I felt aghast for 
Zinaida, and longed to pray for her, for my 
father — and for myself 



353 



M U M U 

In one of the outlying streets of Moscow, in a 
grey house with white columns and a balcony, 
warped all askew, there was once living a lady, 
a widow, surrounded by a numerous household 
of serfs. Her sons were in the government 
service at Petersburg ; her daughters were 
married ; she went out very little, and in 
solitude lived through the last years of her 
miserly and dreary old age. Her day, a joyless 
and gloomy day, had long been over ; but the 
evening of her life was blacker than night. 

Of all her servants, the most remarkable per- 
sonage was the porter, Gerasim, a man full 
twelve inches over the normal height, of heroic 
build, and deaf and dumb from his birth. The 
lady, his owner, had brought him up from the 
village where he lived alone in a little hut, 
apart from his brothers, and was reckoned about 
the most punctual of her peasants in the pay- 
ment of the seignorial dues. Endowed with 
extraordinary strength, he did the work of 
355 



MUMU 

four men ; work flew apace under his hands, 
and it was a pleasant sight to see him when he 
was ploughing, while, with his huge palms press- 
ing hard upon the plough, he seemed alone, 
unaided by his poor horse, to cleave the yielding 
bosom of the earth, or when, about St. Peter's 
Day, he plied his scythe with a furious energy 
that might have mown a young birch copse up 
by the roots, or swiftly and untiringly wielded 
a flail over two yards long ; while the hard 
oblong muscles of his shoulders rose and fell like 
a lever. His perpetual silence lent a solemn 
dignity to his unwearying labour. He was a 
splendid peasant, and, except for his affliction, 
any girl would have been glad to marry him. 
. . . But now they had taken Gerasim to 
Moscow, bought him boots, had him made a 
full-skirted coat for summer, a sheepskin for 
winter, put into his hand a broom and a spade, 
and appointed him porter. 

At first he intensely disliked his new mode 
of life. From his childhood he had been used 
to field labour, to village life. Shut off by his 
affliction from the society of men, he had grown 
up, dumb and mighty, as a tree grows on a 
fruitful soil. When he was transported to the 
town, he could not understand what was being 
done with him ; he was miserable and stupefied, 
with the stupefaction of some strong young 
356 



MUMU 

bull, taken straight from the meadow, where 
the rich grass stood up to his belly, taken and 
put in the truck of a railway train, and there, 
while smoke and sparks and gusts of steam 
puff out upon the sturdy beast, he is whirled on- 
wards, whirled along with loud roar and whistle, 
whither — God knows ! What Gerasim had to 
do in his new duties seemed a mere trifle to 
him after his hard toil as a peasant; in half-an- 
hour, all his work was done, and he would once 
more stand stock-still in the middle of the 
courtyard, staring open-mouthed at all the 
passers-by, as though trying to wrest from them 
the explanation of his perplexing position ; or 
he would suddenly go off into some corner, and 
flinging a long way off the broom or the spade, 
throw himself on his face on the ground, and 
lie for hours together without stirring, like a 
caged beast. But man gets used to anything, 
and Gerasim got used at last to living in town. 
He had little work to do ; his whole duty con- 
sisted in keeping the courtyard clean, bringing 
in a barrel of water twice a day, splitting and 
dragging in wood for the kitchen and the house, 
keeping out strangers, and watching at night. 
And it must be said he did his duty zealously. 
In his courtyard there was never a shaving 
lying about, never a speck of dust ; if some- 
times, in the muddy season, the wretched 
357 



MUMU 

nag, put under his charge for fetching water, got 
stuck in the road, he would simply give it a 
shove with his shoulder, and set not only the 
cart but the horse itself moving. If he set to 
chopping wood, the axe fairly rang like 
glass, and chips and chunks flew in all direc- 
tions. And as for strangers, after he had one 
night caught two thieves and knocked their 
heads together — knocked them so that there 
was not the slightest need to take them to the 
police-station afterwards — every one in the neigh- 
bourhood began to feel a great respect for him ; 
even those who came in the day-time, by no 
means robbers, but simply unknown persons, 
at the sight of the terrible porter, waved and 
shouted to him as though he could hear their 
shouts. With all the rest of the servants, 
Gerasim was on terms, hardly friendly — they 
were afraid of him — but familiar; he regarded 
them as his fellows. They explained them- 
selves to him by signs, and he understood them, 
and exactly carried out all orders, but knew his 
own rights too, and soon no one dared to take 
his seat at the table. Gerasim was altogether 
of a strict and serious temper, he liked order in 
everything ; even the cocks did not dare to 
fight in his presence, or woe betide them ! 
directly he caught sight of them, he would seize 
them by the legs, swing them ten times round 
358 



MUMU 

in the air like a wheel, and throw them in 
different directions. There were geese, too, 
kept in the yard ; but the goose, as is well 
known, is a dignified and reasonable bird ; 
Gerasim felt a respect for them, looked after 
them, and fed them ; he was himself not unlike 
a gander of the steppes. He was assigned a 
little garret over the kitchen ; he arranged it 
himself to his own liking, made a bedstead in 
it of oak boards on four stumps of wood for 
legs — a truly Titanic bedstead; one might have 
put a ton or two on it — it would not have bent 
under the load ; under the bed was a solid 
chest ; in a corner stood a little table of the 
same strong kind, and near the table a three- 
legged stool, so solid and squat that Gerasim 
himself would sometimes pick it up and drop 
it again with a smile of delight. The garret 
was locked up by means of a padlock that 
looked like a kalatch or basket-shaped loaf, 
only black ; the key of this padlock Gerasim 
always carried about him in his girdle. He 
did not like people to come to his garret. 

So passed a year, at the end of which a little 
incident befell Gerasim. 

The old lady, in whose service he lived as 

porter, adhered in everything to the ancient 

ways, and kept a large number of servants. In 

her house were not only laundresses, semp- 

359 



MUMU 

stresses, carpenters, tailors and tailoresses, there 
was even a harness-maker — he was reckoned 
as a veterinary surgeon, too, — and a doctor for 
the servants ; there was a household doctor for 
the mistress ; there was, lastly, a shoemaker, by 
name Kapiton Klimov, a sad drunkard. Klimov 
regarded himself as an injured creature, whose 
merits were unappreciated, a cultivated man 
from Petersburg, who ought not to be living in 
Moscow without occupation — in the wilds, so 
to speak ; and if he drank, as he himself ex- 
pressed it emphatically, with a blow on his 
chest, it was sorrow drove him to it. So one 
day his mistress had a conversation about him 
with her head steward, Gavrila, a man whom, 
judging solely from his little yellow eyes and 
nose like a duck's beak, fate itself, it seemed, 
had marked out as a person in authority. The 
lady expressed her regret at the corruption of 
the morals of Kapiton, who had, only theevening 
before, been picked up somewhere in the street. 

* Now, Gavrila,' she observed, all of a sudden, 
* now, if we were to marry him, what do you 
think, perhaps he would be steadier?' 

* Why not marry him, indeed, 'm ? He could 
be married, 'm,' answered Gavrila, 'and it would 
be a very good thing, to be sure, 'm.' 

* Yes ; only who is to marry him ? ' 

*Ay, 'm. But that's at your pleasure, 'm. 
360 



MUMU 

He may, any way, so to say, be wanted for 
something; he can't be turned adrift altogether.' 

' I fancy he likes Tatiana.' 

Gavrila was on the point of making some 
reply, but he shut his lips tightly. 

' Yes ! ... let him marry Tatiana,' the lady 
decided, taking a pinch of snuff complacently, 
* Do you hear ? ' 

' Yes, 'm,' Gavrila articulated, and he with- 
drew. 

Returning to his own room (it was in a little 
lodge, and was almost filled up with metal- 
bound trunks), Gavrila first sent his wife away, 
and then sat down at the window and pondered. 
His mistress's unexpected arrangement had 
clearly put him in a difficulty. At last he got 
up and sent to call Kapiton. Kapiton made 
his appearance. . . . But before reporting their 
conversation to the reader, we consider it not 
out of place to relate in few words who was this 
Tatiana, whom it was to be Kapiton's lot to 
marry, and why the great lady's order had dis- 
turbed the steward. 

Tatiana, one of the laundresses referred to / 
above (as a trained and skilful laundress she 
was in charge of the fine linen only), was a 
woman of twenty-eight, thin, fair-haired, with 
moles on her left cheek. Moles on the left 
cheek are regarded as of evil omen in Russia — 
361 



MUMU 

a token of unhappy life. . . . Tatiana could not 
boast of her good luck. From her earliest youth 
she had been badly treated ; she had done the 
work of two, and had never knov/n affection ; 
she had been poorly clothed and had received 
the smallest wages. Relations she had practi- 
cally none; an uncle she had once had, a 
butler, left behind in the country as useless, and 
other uncles of hers were peasants — that was 
all. At one time she had passed for a beauty, 
but her good looks were very soon over. In 
disposition, she was very meek, or, rather, 
scared ; towards herself, she felt perfect in- 
difference ; of others, she stood in mortal dread ; 
she thought of nothing but how to get her work 
done in good time, never talked to any one, 
and trembled at the very name of her mistress, 
though the latter scarcely knew her by sight. 
When Gerasim was brought from the country, 
she was ready to die with fear on seeing his 
huge figure, tried all she could to avoid meeting 
him, even dropped her eyelids when sometimes 
she chanced to run past him, hurrying from the 
house to the laundry. Gerasim at first paid no 
special attention to her, then he used to smile 
when she came his way, then he began even to 
stare admiringly at her, and at last he never 
took his eyes off her. She took his fancy, 
whether by the mild expression of her face or 
362 



MUMU 

the timidity of her movements, who can tell ? 
So one day she was stealing across the yard, 
with a starched dressing-jacket of her mistress's 
carefully poised on her outspread fingers . . . 
some one suddenly grasped her vigorously by 
the elbow; she turned round and fairly 
screamed ; behind her stood Gerasim. With 
a foolish smile, making inarticulate caressing 
grunts, he held out to her a gingerbread cock 
with gold tinsel on his tail and wings. She 
was about to refuse it, but he thrust it forcibly 
into her hand, shook his head, walked away, 
and turning round, once more grunted some- 
thing very affectionately to her. From that 
day forward he gave her no peace; wherever 
she went, he was on the spot at once, coming to 
meet her, smiling, grunting, waving his hands ; 
all at once he would pull a ribbon out of the 
bosom of his smock and put it in her hand, or 
would sweep the dust out of her way. The 
poor girl simply did not know how to be- 
have or what to do. Soon the whole household 
knew of the dumb porter's wiles ; jeers, jokes, sly 
hints were showered upon Tatiana. At Gerasim, 
however, it was not every one who would dare to 
scoff; he did not like jokes; indeed, in his pre- 
sence, she, too, was left in peace. Whether she 
liked it or not, the girl found herself to be under 
his protection. Like all deaf-mutes, he was 
363 



MUMU 

very suspicious, and very readily perceived 
when they were laughing at him or at her. 
One day, at dinner, the wardrobe- keeper, 
Tatiana's superior, fell to nagging, as it is 
called, at her, and brought the poor thing to 
such a state that she did not know where to 
look, and was almost crying with vexation. 
Gerasim got up all of a sudden, stretched out 
his gigantic hand, laid it on the wardrobe-maid's 
head, and looked into her face with such grim 
ferocity that her head positively flopped upon the 
table. Every one was still. Gerasim took up 
his spoon again and went on with his cabbage- 
soup. 'Look at him, the dumb devil, the wood- 
demon ! ' they all muttered in under-tones, 
while the wardrobe -maid got up and went 
out into the maids' room. Another time, notice- 
ing that Kapiton — the same Kapiton who was 
the subject of the conversation reported above 
— was gossiping somewhat too attentively with 
Tatiana, Gerasim beckoned him to him, led 
him into the cartshed, and taking up a shaft 
that was standing in a corner by one end, 
lightly, but most significantly, menaced him 
with it. Since then no one addressed a word 
to Tatiana. And all this cost him nothing. 
It is true the wardrobe-maid, as soon as she 
reached the maids' room, promptly fell into a 
fainting-fit, and behaved altogether so skilfully 
364 



MUMU 

that Gerasim's rough action reached his mis- 
tress's knowledge the same day. But the capri- 
cious old lady only laughed, and several times, 
to the great offence of the wardrobe-maid, 
forced her to repeat * how he bent your head 
down with his heavy hand,' and next day she 
sent Gerasim a rouble. She looked on him 
with favour as a strong and faithful watchman. 
Gerasim stood in considerable awe of her, but, 
all the same, he had hopes of her favour, and 
was preparing to go to her with a petition for 
leave to marry Tatiana. He was only waiting 
for a new coat, promised him by the steward, 
to present a proper appearance before his 
mistress, when this same mistress suddenly 
took it into her head to marry Tatiana to 
Kapiton. 

The reader will now readily understand 
the perturbation of mind that overtook the 
steward Gavrila after his conversation with his 
mistress. * My lady,' he thought, as he sat at 
the window, 'favours Gerasim, to be sure' — 
(Gavrila was well aware of this, and that was 
why he himself looked on him with an indul- 
gent eye) — * still he is a speechless creature. I 
could not, indeed, put it before the mistress 
that Gerasim 's courting Tatiana. But, after 
all, it 's true enough ; he's a queer sort of hus- 
band. But on the other hand, that devil, God 
365 



MUMU 

forgive me, has only got to find out they're 
marrying Tatiana to Kapiton, he '11 smash up 
everything in the house, 'pon my soul ! There 's 
no reasoning with him ; v^^hy, he 's such a devil, 
God forgive my sins, there's no getting over 
him no how . . . 'pon my soul ! ' 

Kapiton's entrance broke the thread of Ga- 
vrila's reflections. The dissipated shoemaker 
came in, his hands behind him, and lounging 
carelessly against a projecting angle of the wall, 
near the door, crossed his right foot in front of 
his left, and tossed his head, as much as to say, 
* What do you want ? ' 

Gavrila looked at Kapiton, and drummed 
with his fingers on the window-frame. Kapiton 
merely screwed up his leaden eyes a little, but 
he did not look down, he even grinned slightly, 
and passed his hand over his whitish locks 
which were sticking up in all directions. ' Well, 
here I am. What is it ? ' 

* You 're a pretty fellow,' said Gavrila, and 
paused. ' A pretty fellow you are, there 's no 
denying ! ' 

Kapiton only twitched his little shoulders. 
' Are you any better, pray ? ' he thought to 
himself. 

* Just look at yourself, now, look at yourself,' 
Gavrila went on reproachfully ; * now, what ever 
do you look like ?' 

366 



MUMU 

Kapiton serenely surveyed his shabby tat- 
tered coat, and his patched trousers, and with 
special attention stared at his burst boots, 
especially the one on the tip-toe of which his 
right foot so gracefully poised, and he fixed his 
eyes again on the steward. 

'Well?' 

'Well?' repeated Gavrila. 'Well? And 
then you say well ? You look like old Nick 
himself, God forgive my saying so, that's what 
you look like.' 

Kapiton blinked rapidly. 

' Go on abusing me, go on, if you like, Gavrila 
Andreitch,' he thought to himself again. 

' Here you 've been drunk again,' Gavrila 
began, 'drunk again, haven't you? Eh? Come, 
answer me ! ' 

' Owing to the weakness of my health, I have 
exposed myself to spirituous beverages, cer- 
tainly,' replied Kapiton. 

' Owing to the weakness of your health ! . . . 
They let you off too easy, that 's what it is ; 
and you 've been apprenticed in Petersburg. . . . 
Much you learned in your apprenticeship ! You 
simply eat your bread in idleness.' 

' In that matter, Gavrila Andreitch, there is 

one to judge me, the Lord God Himself, and 

no one else. He also knows what manner of 

man I be in this world, and whether I eat my 

367 



MUMU 

bread in idleness. And as concerning your con- 
tention regarding drunkenness, in that matter, 
too, I am not to blame, but rather a friend ; 
he led me into temptation, but was diplomatic 
and got away, while I . . .' 

'While you were left, like a goose, in the 
street. Ah, you 're a dissolute fellow ! But 
that 's not the point,' the steward went on, 
' I 've something to tell you. Our lady . . .' 
here he paused a minute, * it 's our lady's plea- 
sure that you should be married. Do you 
hear ? She imagines you may be steadier when 
you 're married. Do you understand ? ' 

* To be sure I do.' 

* Well, then. For my part I think it would 
be better to give you a good hiding. But there 
— it 's her business. Well ? are you agreeable ?' 

Kapiton grinned. 

* Matrimony is an excellent thing for any one, 
Gavrila Andreitch ; and, as far as I am con- 
cerned, I shall be quite agreeable.' 

* Very well, then,' replied Gavrila, while he 
reflected to himself: 'there's no denying the 
man expresses himself very properly. Only 
there's one thing,' he pursued aloud : ' the wife 
our lady's picked out for you is an unlucky 
choice.' 

' Why, who is she, permit me to inquire ? ' 
' Tatiana.' 

368 



MUMU 

' Tatiana ?' 

And Kapiton opened his eyes, and moved a 
little away from the wall. 

* Well, what are you in such a taking for ? . . . 
Isn't she to your taste, hey ?' 

* Not to my taste, do you say, Gavrila 
Andreitch ! She 's right enough, a hard- 
working steady girl. . . . But you know 
very well yourself, Gavrila Andreitch, why 
that fellow, that wild man of the woods, 
that monster of the steppes, he 's after her, you 
know. . . .' 

' I know, mate, I know all about it,' the butler 
cut him short in a tone of annoyance: 'but 
there, you see . . .' 

' But upon my soul, Gavrila Andreitch ! why, 
he '11 kill me, by God, he will, he '11 crush me 
like some fly ; why, he 's got a fist — why, you 
kindly look yourself what a fist he 's got ; why, 
he 's simply got a fist like Minin Pozharsky's. 
You see he 's deaf, he beats and does not hear 
how he 's beating ! He swings his great fists, 
as if he 's asleep. And there 's no possibility of 
pacifying him ; and for why ? Why, because, 
as you know yourself, Gavrila Andreitch, he 's 
deaf, and what 's more, has no more wit than 
the heel of my foot. Why, he 's a sort of beast, 
a heathen idol, Gavrila Andreitch, and worse 
... a block of wood ; what have I done that I 
2 A 369 



MUMU 

should have to suffer from him now ? Sure it 
is, it 's all over with me now ; I Ve knocked 
about, I Ve had enough to put up with, I Ve 
been battered like an earthenware pot, but still 
I 'm a man, after all, and not a worthless 
pot.' 

' I know, I know, don't go talking away. . . .' 

' Lord, my God ! ' the shoemaker continued 
warmly, * when is the end ? when, O Lord ! A 
poor wretch I am, a poor wretch whose suffer- 
ings are endless ! What a life, what a life 
mine 's been, come to think of it ! In my young 
days, I was beaten by a German I was 'prentice 
to ; in the prime of life beaten by my own 
countrymen, and last of all, in ripe years, see 
what I have been brought to. . . .' 

' Ugh, you flabby soul ! ' said Gavrila And- 
reitch. ' Why do you make so many words 
about it ? ' 

'Why, do you say, Gavrila Andreitch? It's 
not a beating I 'm afraid of, Gavrila Andreitch. 
A gentleman may chastise me in private, but 
give me a civil word before folks, and I 'm a 
man still ; but see now, whom I 've to do 
with. . . .' 

' Come, get along,' Gavrila interposed im- 
patiently. Kapiton turned away and staggered 
off. 

'But, if it were not for him,' the steward 
370 



MUMU 

shouted after him, 'you would consent for 
your part ? ' 

* I signify my acquiescence,' retorted Kapiton 
as he disappeared. 

His fine language did not desert him, even in 
the most trying positions. 

The steward walked several times up and 
down the room. 

' Well, call Tatiana now,' he said at last. 

A few instants later, Tatiana had come up 
almost noiselessly, and was standing in the 
doorway. 

' What are your orders, Gavrila Andreitch ? ' 
she said in a soft voice. 

The steward looked at her intently. 

' Well, Taniusha,' he said, * would you like to 
be married ? Our lady has chosen a husband 
for you.' 

' Yes, Gavrila Andreitch. And whom has 
she deigned to name as a husband for me ? ' 
she added falteringly. 

' Kapiton, the shoemaker.' 

' Yes, sir.' 

' He 's a feather-brained fellow, that 's certain. 
But it 's just for that the mistress reckons upon 
you.' 

' Yes, sir.' 

' There 's one difficulty . . . you know the 
deaf man, Gerasim, he's courting you, you see, 
371 



MUMU 

How did you come to bewitch such a bear? 
But you see, he '11 kill you, very like, he 's such 
a bear. . . .' 

'He'll kill me, Gavrila Andreitch, he '11 kill 
me, and no mistake.' 

* Kill you. . . . Well, we shall see about 
that. What do you mean by saying he '11 kill 
you ? Has he any right to kill you ? tell me 
yourself.' 

' I don't know, Gavrila Andreitch, about his 
having any right or not.' 

' What a woman ! why, you 've made him no 
promise, I suppose. . . .' 

* What are you pleased to ask of me ? ' 

The steward was silent for a little, thinking, 
'You're a meek soul! Well, that's right,' 
he said aloud ; ' we '11 have another talk with 
you later, now you can go, Taniusha ; I see 
you 're not unruly, certainly.' 

Tatiana turned, steadied herself a little against 
the doorpost, and went away. 

' And, perhaps, our lady will forget all about 
this wedding by to-morrow,' thought the 
steward ; ' and here am I worrying myself for 
nothing ! As for that insolent fellow, we must 
tie him down, if it comes to that, we must let 
the police know ' . . . Ustinya Fyedorovna ! ' 
he shouted in a loud voice to his wife, ' heat 
the samovar, my good soul. . . .' All that day 



MUMU 

Tatiana hardly went out of the laundry. At 
first she had started crying, then she wiped 
away her tears, and set to work as before. 
Kapiton stayed till late at night at the ginshop 
with a friend of his, a man of gloomy appear- 
ance, to whom he related in detail how he used 
to live in Petersburg with a gentleman, who 
would have been all right, except he was a bit 
too strict, and he had a slight weakness besides, 
he was too fond of drink ; and, as to the fair 
sex, he didn't stick at anything. His gloomy 
companion merely said yes ; but when Kapiton 
announced at last that, in a certain event, he 
would have to lay hands on himself to-morrow, 
his gloomy companion remarked that it was 
bedtime. And they parted in surly silence. 

Meanwhile, the steward's anticipations were 
not fulfilled. The old lady was so much taken 
up with the idea of Kapiton's wedding, that 
even in the night she talked of nothing else to 
one of her companions, who was kept in her 
house solely to entertain her in case of sleep- 
lessness, and, like a night cabman, slept in the 
day. When Gavrila came to her after morning 
tea with his report, her first question was : 
* And how about our wedding — is it getting on 
all right ? ' He replied, of course, that it was 
getting on first rate, and that Kapiton would 
appear before her to pay his reverence to her 
373 



MUMU 

that day. The old lady was not quite well ; 
she did not give much time to business. The 
steward went back to his own room, and called 
a council. The matter certainly called for 
serious consideration. Tatiana would make no 
difficulty, of course ; but Kapiton had declared 
in the hearing of all that he had but one head 
to lose, not two or three. . . . Gerasim turned 
rapid sullen looks on every one, would not 
budge from the steps of the maids' quarters, 
and seemed to guess that some mischief was 
being hatched against him. They met to- 
gether. Among them was an old sideboard 
waiter, nicknamed Uncle Tail, to vvhom every 
one looked respectfully for counsel, though all 
they got out of him was, ' Here 's a pretty pass ! 
to be sure, to be sure, to be sure ! ' As a 
preliminary measure of security, to provide 
against contingencies, they locked Kapiton up 
in the lumber-room where the filter was kept ; 
then considered the question with the gravest 
deliberation It would, to be sure, be easy to 
have recourse to force. But Heaven save us ! 
there would be an uproar, the mistress would 
be put out — it would be awful ! What should 
they do ? They thought and thought, and at 
last thought out a solution. It had many a 
time been observed that Gerasim could not 
bear drunkards. ... As he sat at the gates, he 
374 



MUMU 

would always turn away with disgust when some 
one passed by intoxicated, with unsteady steps 
and his cap on one side of his ear. They 
resolved that Tatiana should be instructed to 
pretend to be tipsy, and should pass by Gerasim 
staggering and reeling about. The poor girl 
refused for a long while to agree to this, but 
they persuaded her at last ; she saw, too, that 
it was the only possible way of getting rid of 
her adorer. She went out. Kapiton was re- 
leased from the lumber-room ; for, after all, he 
had an interest in the affair. Gerasim was 
sitting on the curb-stone at the gates, scraping 
the ground with a spade. . . . From behind 
every corner, from behind every window-blind, 
the others were watching him. . . . The trick 
succeeded beyond all expectations. On seeing 
Tatiana, at first, he nodded as usual, making 
caressing, inarticulate sounds ; then he looked 
carefully at her, dropped his spade, jumped up, 
went up to her, brought his face close to her 
face. ... In her fright she staggered more than 
ever, and shut her eyes. . . . He took her by 
the arm, whirled her right across the yard, and 
going into the room where the council had 
been sitting, pushed her straight at Kapiton. 
Tatiana fairly swooned away. . . . Gerasim 
stood, looked at her, waved his hand, laughed, 
and went off, stepping heavily, to his garret. 
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MUMU 

. . . For the next twenty-four hours, he did not 
come out of it. The postilHon Antipka said 
afterwards that he saw Gerasim through a 
crack in the wall, sitting on his bedstead, his 
face in his hand. From time to time he uttered 
soft regular sounds ; he was wailing a dirge, 
that is, swaying backwards and forwards with 
his eyes shut, and shaking his head as drivers 
or bargemen do when they chant their melan- 
choly songs. Antipka could not bear it, and 
he came away from the crack. When Gerasim 
came out of the garret next day, no particular 
change could be observed in him. He only 
seemed, as it were, more morose, and took not 
the slightest notice of Tatiana or Kapiton. 
The same evening, they both had to appear 
before their mistress with geese under their 
arms, and in a week's time they were married. 
Even on the day of the wedding Gerasim 
showed no change of any sort in his behaviour. 
Only, he came back from the river without 
water, he had somehow broken the barrel on 
the road ; and at night, in the stable, he washed 
and rubbed down his horse so vigorously, that 
it swayed like a blade of grass in the wind, and 
staggered from one leg to the other under his 
fists of iron. 

All this had taken place in the spring. 
Another year passed by, during which Kapiton 
37(^ 



MUMU 

became a hopeless drunkard, and as being 
absolutely of no use for anything, was sent 
away with the store waggons to a distant 
village with his wife. On the day of his 
departure, he put a very good face on it at 
first, and declared that he would always be at 
home, send him where they would, even to the 
other end of the world ; but later on he lost 
heart, began grumbling that he was being taken 
to uneducated people, and collapsed so com- 
pletely at last that he could not even put his 
own hat on. Some charitable soul stuck it on 
his forehead, set the peak straight in front, and 
thrust it on with a slap from above. When 
everything was quite ready, and the peasants 
already held the reins in their hands, and 
were only waiting for the words ' With God's 
blessing ! ' to start, Gerasim came out of his 
garret, went up to Tatiana, and gave her as a 
parting present a red cotton handkerchief he 
had bought for her a year ago. Tatiana, who 
had up to that instant borne all the revolting 
details of her life with great indifference, could 
not control herself upon that ; she burst into 
tears, and as she took her seat in the cart, 
she kissed Gerasim three times like a good 
Christian. He meant to accompany her as far 
as the town-barrier, and did walk beside her 
cart for a while, but he stopped suddenly at the 



MUMU 

Crimean ford, waved his hand, and walked 
away along the riverside. 

It was getting towards evening. He walked 
slowly, watching the water. All of a sudden 
he fancied something was floundering in the 
mud close to the bank. He stooped over, and 
saw a little white-and-black puppy, who, in 
spite of all its efforts, could not get out of the 
water ; it was struggling, slipping back, and 
trembling all over its thin wet little body. 
Gerasim looked at the unlucky little dog, picked 
it up with one hand, put it into the bosom of 
his coat, and hurried with long steps home- 
wards. He went into his garret, put the rescued 
puppy on his bed, covered it with his thick 
overcoat, ran first to the stable for straw, and 
then to the kitchen for a cup of milk. Care- 
fully folding back the overcoat, and spreading 
out the straw, he set the milk on the bedstead. 
The poor little puppy was not more than three 
weeks old, its eyes were only just open — one 
eye still seemed rather larger than the other ; 
it did not know how to lap out of a cup, and 
did nothing but shiver and blink. Gerasim 
took hold of its head softly with two fingers, 
and dipped its little nose into the milk. The 
pup suddenly began lapping greedily, sniffing, 
shaking itself, and choking. Gerasim watched 
and watched it, and all at once he laughed 
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MUMU 

outright. . . . All night long he was wailing on 
it, keeping it covered, and rubbing it dry. He 
fell asleep himself at last, and slept quietly and 
happily by its side. 

No naother could have looked after her baby 
as Gerasim looked after his little nursling. At 
first, she — for the pup turned out to be a bitch 
— was very weak, feeble, and ugly, but by 
degrees she grew stronger and improved in 
looks, and thanks to the unflagging care of her 
preserver, in eight months' time she was trans- 
formed into a very pretty dog of the spaniel 
breed, with long ears, a bushy spiral tail, and 
large expressive eyes. She was devotedly 
attached to Gerasim, and was never a yard 
from his side ; she always followed him about 
wagging her tail. He had even given her a 
name — the dumb know that their inarticulate 
noises call the attention of others. He called 
her Mumu. All the servants in the house liked 
her, and called her Mumu, too. She was very 
intelligent, she was friendly with every one, but 
was only fond of Gerasim. Gerasim, on his 
side, loved her passionately, and he did not 
like it when other people stroked her ; whether 
he was afraid for her, or jealous — God knows ! 
She used to wake him in the morning, pulling 
at his coat ; she used to take the reins in her 
mouth, and bring him up the old horse that 
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MUMU 

carried the water, with whom she was on very 
friendly terms. With a face of great impor- 
tance, she used to go with him to the river ; 
she used to watch his brooms and spades, and 
never allowed any one to go into his garret. 
He cut a little hole in his door on purpose 
for her, and she seemed to feel that only in 
Gerasim's garret she was completely mistress 
and at home ; and directly she went in, she 
used to jump with a satisfied air upon the bed. 
At night she did not sleep at all, but she never 
barked without sufficient cause, like some 
stupid house-dog, who, sitting on its hind-legs, 
blinking, with its nose in the air, barks simply 
from dulness, at the stars, usually three times 
in succession. No ! Mumu's delicate little 
voice was never raised without good reason ; 
either some stranger was passing close to the 
fence, or there was some suspicious sound or 
rustle somewhere. ... In fact, she was an 
excellent watch-dog. It is true that there was 
another dog in the yard, a tawny old dog with 
brown spots, called Wolf, but he was never, 
even at night, let off the chain ; and, indeed, 
he was so decrepit that he did not even wish 
for freedom. He used to lie curled up in his 
kennel, and only rarely uttered a sleepy, almost 
noiseless bark, which broke off at once, as 
though he were himself aware of its uselessness. 
380 



MUMU 

Mumu never went into the mistress's house ; 
and when Gerasim carried wood into the rooms, 
she always stayed behind, impatiently waiting 
for him at the steps, pricking up her ears and 
turning her head to right and to left at the 
slightest creak of the door. . . . 

So passed another year. Gerasim went on 
performing his duties as house-porter, and was 
very well content with his lot, when suddenly 
an unexpected incident occurred. . . . One fine 
summer day the old lady was walking up and 
down the drawing-room with her dependants. 
She was in high spirits ; she laughed and made 
jokes. Her servile companions laughed and 
joked too, but they did not feel particularly 
mirthful ; the household did not much like it, 
when their mistress was in a lively mood, for, 
to begin with, she expected from every one 
prompt and complete participation in her merri- 
ment, and was furious if any one showed a face 
that did not beam with delight, and secondly, 
these outbursts never lasted long with her, and 
were usually followed by a sour and gloomy 
mood. That day she had got up in a lucky 
hour ; at cards she took the four knaves, which 
means the fulfilment of one's wishes (she used 
to try her fortune on the cards every morning), 
and her tea struck her as particularly delicious, 
for which her maid was rewarded by words of 
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MUMU 

praise, and by twopence in money. With a 
sweet smile on her wrinkled lips, the lady 
walked about the drawing-room and went up 
to the window. A flower-garden had been laid 
out before the window, and in the very middle 
bed, under a rose-bush, lay Mumu busily gnaw- 
ing a bone. The lady caught sight of her. 

' Mercy on us ! ' she cried suddenly ; ' what 
dog is that ? ' 

The companion, addressed by the old lady, 
hesitated, poor thing, in that wretched state of 
uneasiness which is common in any person in 
a dependent position who doesn't know very 
well what significance to give to the exclama- 
tion of a superior. 

* I d . . . d . . . don't know,' she faltered : 
* I fancy it 's the dumb man's dog.' 

* Mercy ! ' the lady cut her short : * but it 's a 
charming little dog ! order it to be brought in. 
Has he had it long ? How is it I 've never 
seen it before ? . . . Order it to be brought in.' 

The companion flew at once into the hall. 
'Boy, boy!' she shouted: 'bring Mumu in 
at once ! She 's in the flower-garden.' 

* Her name 's Mumu then,' observed the lady : 
' a very nice name.' 

' Oh, very, indeed ! ' chimed in the com- 
panion. ' Make haste, Stepan ! ' 

Stepan, a sturdily-built young fellow, whose 
382 



MUMU 

duties were those of a footman, rushed head- 
long into the flower-garden, and tried to capture 
Mumu, but she cleverly slipped from his fingers, 
and with her tail in the air, fled full speed to 
Gerasim, who was at that instant in the kitchen, 
knocking out and cleaning a barrel, turning it 
upside down in his hands like a child's drum. 
Stepan ran after her, and tried to catch her just 
at her master's feet ; but the sensible dog would 
not let a stranger touch her, and with a bound, 
she got away. Gerasim looked on with a smile 
at all this ado ; at last, Stepan got up, much 
amazed, and hurriedly explained to him by 
signs that the mistress wanted the dog brought 
in to her. Gerasim was a little astonished ; he 
called Mumu, however, picked her up, and 
handed her over to Stepan. Stepan carried her 
into the drawing-room, and put her down on 
the parquette floor. The old lady began call- 
ing the dog to her in a coaxing voice. Mumu, 
who had never in her life been in such 
magnificent apartments, was very much 
frightened, and made a rush for the door, but, 
being driven back by the obsequious Stepan, 
she began trembling, and huddled close up 
against the wall. 

* Mumu, Mumu, come to me, come to your 
mistress,' said the lady ; * come, silly thing . . . 
don't be afraid.' 

383 



MUMU 

* Come, Mumu, come to the mistress,' repeated 
the companions. * Come along ! ' 

But Mumu looked round her uneasily, and 
did not stir. 

' Bring her something to eat,' said the old 
lady. ' How stupid she is ! she won't come to 
her mistress. What 's she afraid of? ' 

* She's not used to your honour yet,' ven- 
tured one of the companions in a timid and 
conciliatory voice. 

Stepan brought in a saucer of milk, and set 
it down before Mumu, but Mumu would not 
even sniff at the milk, and still shivered, and 
looked round as before. 

' Ah, what a silly you are ! ' said the lady, 
and going up to her, she stooped down, and was 
about to stroke her, but Mumu turned her head 
abruptly, and showed her teeth. The lady 
hurriedly drew back her hand. . . . 

A momentary silence followed. Mumu gave 
a faint whine, as though she would complain 
and apologise. . . . The old lady moved back, 
scowling. The dog's sudden movement had 
frightened her. 

' Ah ! ' shrieked all the companions at once, 
' she 's not bitten you, has she ? Heaven forbid ! 
(Mumu had never bitten any one in her life.) 
Ah! ah!' 

' Take her away,' said the old lady in a 
384 



MUMU 

changed voice. ' Wretched little dog ! What 
a spiteful creature ! ' 

And, turning round deliberately, she went 
towards her boudoir. Her companions looked 
timidly at one another, and were about to 
follow her, but she stopped, stared coldly at 
them, and said, * What 's that for, pray ? I 've 
not called you,' and went out. 

The companions waved their hands to 
Stepan in despair. He picked up Mumu, and 
flung her promptly outside the door, just at 
Gerasim's feet, and half-an-hour later a profound 
stillness reigned in the house, and the old lady 
sat on her sofa looking blacker than a thunder- 
cloud. 

What trifles, if you think of it, will some- 
times disturb any one ! 

Till evening the lady was out of humour; 
she did not talk to any one, did not play cards, 
and passed a bad night. She fancied the eau- 
de-Cologne they gave her was not the same as 
she usually had, and that her pillow smelt of 
soap, and she made the wardrobe-maid smell 
all the bed linen — in fact she was very upset 
and cross altogether. Next morning she 
ordered Gavrila to be summoned an hour 
earlier than usual. 

' Tell me, please,' she began, directly the 
latter, not without some inward trepidation, 
2 B ^8; 



MUMU 

crossed the threshold of her boudoir, * what 
dog was that barking all night in our yard ? 
It wouldn't let me sleep ! ' 

* A dog, 'm . . . what dog, 'm . . . may be, the 
dumb man's dog, 'm,' he brought out in a rather 
unsteady voice. 

' I don't know whether it was the dumb man's 
or whose, but it wouldn't let me sleep. And I 
wonder what we have such a lot of dogs for ! 
I wish to know. We have a yard dog, haven't 
we?' 

' Oh yes, 'm, we have, 'm. Wolf, 'm.' 

' Well, why more, what do we want more 
dogs for? It's simply introducing disorder. 
There's no one in control in the house — 
that's what it is. And what does the dumb 
man want with a dog ? Who gave him leave 
to keep dogs in my yard ? Yesterday I went 
to the window, and there it was lying in the 
flower - garden ; it had dragged in some 
nastiness it was gnawing, and my roses are 
planted there. . . .' 

The lady ceased. 

' Let her be gone from to-day ... do you 
hear ? ' 

'Yes, 'm.' 

* To-day. Now go. I will send for you 
later for the report' 

Gavrila went away. 

386 



MUMU 

As he went through the drawing-room, the 
steward by way of maintaining order moved a 
bell from one table to another ; he stealthily 
blew his duck-like nose in the hall, and went 
into the outer-hall. In the outer-hall, on a 
locker was Stepan asleep in the attitude of a 
slain warrior in a battalion picture, his bare legs 
thrust out below the coat which served him for 
a blanket. The steward gave him a shove, and 
whispered some instructions to him, to which 
Stepan responded with something between a 
yawn and a laugh. The steward went away, 
and Stepan got up, put on his coat and his 
boots, went out and stood on the steps. Five 
minutes had not passed before Gerasim made 
his appearance with a huge bundle of hewn logs 
on his back, accompanied by the inseparable 
Mumu. (The lady had given orders that her 
bedroom and boudoir should be heated at times 
even in the summer.) Gerasim turned sideways 
before the door, shoved it open with his 
shoulder, and stag-fjered into the house with 
his load. Mumu, as usual, stayed behind to 
wait for him. Then Stepan, seizing his chance, 
suddenly pounced on her, like a kite on a 
chicken, held her down to the ground, gathered 
her up in his arms, and without even putting 
on his cap, ran out of the yard with her, got 
into the first fly he met, and galloped off to a 
387 



MUMU 

market-place. There he soon found a pur- 
chaser, to whom he sold her for a shilling, on 
condition that he would keep her for at least a 
week tied up ; then he returned at once. But 
before he got home, he got off the fly, and going 
right round the yard, jumped over the fence 
into the yard from a back street. He was 
afraid to go in at the gate for fear of meeting 
Gerasim. 

His anxiety was unnecessary, however ; 
Gerasim was no longer in the yard. On 
coming out of the house he had at once missed 
Mumu. He never remembered her failing to 
wait for his return, and began running up and 
down, looking for her, and calling her in his 
own way. . . . He rushed up to his garret, up 
to the hay-loft, ran out into the street, this way 
and that. . . . She was lost ! He turned to the 
other serfs, with the most despairing signs, 
questioned them about her, pointing to her 
height from the ground, describing her with his 
hands. . . . Some of them really did not know 
what had become of Mumu, and merely shook 
their heads, others did know, and smiled to him 
for all response, while the steward assumed an 
important air, and began scolding the coach- 
men. Then Gerasim ran right away out of the 
yard. 

It was dark by the time he came back. 
388 



MUMU 

From his worn-out look, his unsteady walk, 
and his dusty clothes, it might be surmised that 
he had been running over half Moscow. He 
stood still opposite the windows of the mistress' 
house, took a searching look at the steps where 
a group of house-serfs were crowded together, 
turned away, and uttered once more his inar- 
ticulate ' Mumu.' Mumu did not answer. He 
went away. Every one looked after him, but 
no one smiled or said a word, and the inquisi- 
tive postillion Antipka reported next morning 
in the kitchen that the dumb man had been 
groaning all night. 

All the next day Gerasim did not show him- 
self, so that they were obliged to send the 
coachman Potap for water instead of him, at 
which the coachman Potap was anything but 
pleased. The lady asked Gavrila if her orders 
had been carried out. Gavrila replied that they 
had. The next rnorning Gerasim came out of 
his garret, and went about his work. He came 
in to his dinner, ate it, and went out again, 
without a greeting to any one. His face, which 
had always been lifeless, as with all deaf-mutes, 
seemed now to be turned to stone. After 
dinner he went out of the yard again, but not 
for long; he came back, and went straight up 
to the hay-loft. Night came on, a clear moon- 
light night. Gerasim lay breathing heavily, 
389 



MUMU 

and incessantly turning from side to side. 
Suddenly he felt something pull at the skirt of 
his coat. He started, but did not raise his 
head, and even shut his eyes tighter. But 
again there was a pull, stronger than before ; 
he jumped up . . . before him, with an end of 
string round her neck, was Mumu, twisting and 
turning. A prolonged cry of delight broke 
from his speechless breast ; he caught up 
Mumu, and hugged her tight in his arms, she 
licked his nose and eyes, and beard and 
moustache, all in one instant. . . . He stood a 
little, thought a minute, crept cautiously down 
from the hay-loft, looked round, and having 
satisfied himself that no one could see him, 
made his way successfully to his garret. 
Gerasim had guessed before that his dog had 
not got lost by her own doing, that she must 
have been taken away by the mistress' orders ; 
the servants had explained to him by signs 
that his Mumu had snapped at her, and he 
determined to take his own measures. First 
he fed Mumu with a bit of bread, fondled her, 
and put her to bed, then he fell to meditating, 
and spent the whole night long in meditating 
how he could best conceal her. At last he 
decided to leave her all day in the garret, and 
only to come in now and then to see her, and 
to take her out at night The hole in the door 
390 



MUMU 

he stopped up effectually with his old over- 
coat, and almost before it was light he was 
already in the yard, as though nothing had 
happened, even — innocent guile ! — the same 
expression of melancholy on his face. It did 
not even occur to the poor deaf man that 
Mumu would betray herself by her whining ; in 
reality, every one in the house was soon aware 
that the dumb man's dog had come back, and 
was locked up in his garret, but from sympathy 
with him and with her, and partly, perhaps, 
from dread of him, they did not let him know 
that they had found out his secret. The 
steward scratched his hand, and gave a despair- 
ing wave of his hand, as much as to say, 'Well, 
well, God have mercy on him ! If only it 
doesn't come to the mistress' ears ! ' 

But the dumb man had never shown such 
energy as on that day ; he cleaned and scraped 
the whole courtyard, pulled up every single 
weed with his own hand, tugged up every stake 
in the fence of the flower-garden, to satisfy 
himself that they were strong enough, and 
unaided drove them in again ; in fact, he toiled 
and laboured so that even the old lady noticed 
his zeal. Twice in the course of the day 
Gerasim went stealthily in to see his prisoner ; 
when night came on, he lay down to sleep with 
her in the garret, not in the hay-loft, and only 
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MUMU 

at two o'clock in the night he went out to take 
her a turn in the fresh air. After walking about 
the courtyard a good while with her, he was 
just turning back, when suddenly a rustle was 
heard behind the fence on the side of the back 
street. Mumu pricked up her ears, growled — 
went up to the fence, sniffed, and gave vent to a 
loud shrill bark. Some drunkard had thought 
fit to take refuge under the fence for the night. 
At that very time the old lady had just fallen 
asleep after a prolonged fit of ' nervous agita- 
tion ' ; these fits of agitation always overtook 
her after too hearty a supper. The sudden 
bark waked her up : her heart palpitated, and 
she felt faint. ' Girls, girls ! ' she moaned. 
' Girls ! ' The terrified maids ran into her bed- 
room. ' Oh, oh, I am dying ! ' she said, fling- 
ing her arms about in her agitation. ' Again, 
that dog again ! . . . Oh, send for the doctor. 
They mean to be the death of me. . . . The 
dog, the dog again ! Oh ! ' And she let her 
head fall back, which always signified a swoon. 
They rushed for the doctor, that is, for the 
household physician, Hariton. This doctor, 
whose whole qualification consisted in wearing 
soft-soled boots, knew how to feel the pulse 
delicately. He used to sleep fourteen hours 
out of the twenty-four, but the rest of the time 
he was always sighing, and continually dosing 
392 



MUMU 

the old lady with cherrybay drops. This doctor 
ran up at once, fumigated the room with burnt 
feathers, and when the old lady opened her 
eyes, promptly offered her a wineglass of the 
hallowed drops on a silver tray. The old lady 
took them, but began again at once in a tearful 
voice complaining of the dog, of Gavrila, and 
of her fate, declaring that she was a poor old 
woman, and that every one had forsaken her, 
no one pitied her, every one wished her dead. 
Meanwhile the luckless Mumu had gone on 
barking, while Gerasim tried in vain to call her 
away from the fence. 'There . . . there . . . 
again,' groaned the old lady, and once more she 
turned up the whites of her eyes. The doctor 
whispered to a maid, she rushed into the outer- 
hall, and shook Stepan, he ran to wake Gavrila, 
Gavrila in a fury ordered the whole household 
to get up. 

Gerasim turned round, saw lights and 
shadows moving in the windows, and with an 
instinct of coming trouble in his heart, put 
Mumu under his arm, ran into his garret, and 
locked himself in. A few minutes later five 
men were banging at his door, but feeling the 
resistance of the bolt, they stopped. Gavrila 
ran up in a fearful state of mind, and ordered 
them all to wait there and watch till morning. 
Then he flew off himself to the maids' quarter, 
393 



MUMU 

and through an old companion, Liubov Liu- 
bimovna, with whose assistance he used to steal 
tea, sugar, and other groceries and to falsify 
the accounts, sent word to the mistress that the 
dog had unhappily run back from somewhere, 
but that to-morrow she should be killed, and 
would the mistress be so gracious as not to be 
angry and to overlook it. The old lady would 
probably not have been so soon appeased, but 
the doctor had in his haste given her fully forty 
drops instead of twelve. The strong dose of 
narcotic acted ; in a quarter of an hour the old 
lady was in a sound and peaceful sleep; while 
Gerasim was lying with a white face on his 
bed, holding Mumu's mouth tightly shut. 

Next morning the lady woke up rather late. 
Gavrila was waiting till she should be awake, 
to give the order for a final assault on Gerasim's 
stronghold, while he prepared himself to face a 
fearful storm. But the storm did not come off. 
The old lady lay in bed and sent for the eldest 
of her dependent companions. 

'Liubov Liubimovna,' she began in a subdued 
weak voice — she was fond of playing the part 
of an oppressed and forsaken victim ; needless 
to say, every one in the house was made ex- 
tremely uncomfortable at such times — ' Liubov 
Liubimovna, you see my position ; go, my love 
to Gavrila Andrcitch, and talk to him a little 
394 



MUMU 

Can he really prize some wretched cur above 
the repose — the very life — of his mistress ? I 
could not bear to think so,' she added, with an 
expression of deep feeling. ' Go, my love ; be 
so good as to go to Gavrila Andreitch for me.' 

Liubov Liubimovna went to Gavrila's room. 
What conversation passed between them is not 
known, but a short time after, a whole crowd of 
people was moving across the yard in the 
direction of Gerasim's garret. Gavrila walked 
in front, holding his cap on with his hand, 
though there was no wind. The footmen and 
cooks were close behind him ; Uncle Tail was 
looking out of a window, giving instructions, 
that is to say, simply waving his hands. At 
the rear there was a crowd of small boys skip- 
ping and hopping along ; half of them were 
outsiders who had run up. On the narrow 
staircase leading to the garret sat one guard ; 
at the door were standing two more with sticks. 
They began to mount the stairs, which they en- 
tirely blocked up. Gavrila went up to the door, 
knocked with his fist, shouting, ' Open the door ! ' 

A stifled bark was audible, but there was no 
answer. 

* Open the door, I tell you,' he repeated. 

'But, Gavrila Andreitch,' Stepan observed 
from below, 'he's deaf, you know — he doesn't 
hear.' 

395 



MUMU 

They all laughed. 

*What are we to do?' Gavrila rejoined from 
above. 

' Why, there 's a hole there in the door,' an- 
swered Stepan, ' so you shake the stick in there.' 

Gavrila bent down. 

* He 's stuffed it up with a coat or something.' 

* Well, you just push the coat in.' 

At this moment a smothered bark was heard 
again. 

* See, see — she speaks for herself,' was re- 
marked in the crowd, and again they laughed. 

Gavrila scratched his ear. 

* No, mate,' he responded at last, ' you can 
poke the coat in yourself, if you like.' 

* All right, let me.' 

And Stepan scrambled up, took the stick, 
pushed in the coat, and began waving the stick 
about in the opening, saying, ' Come out, come 
out ! ' as he did so. He was still waving the 
stick, when suddenly the door of the garret was 
flung open ; all the crowd flew pell-mell down 
the stairs instantly, Gavrila first of all. Uncle 
Tail locked the window. 

'Come, come, come,' shouted Gavrila from the 
yard, ' mind what you 're about' 

Gerasim stood without stirring in his door- 
way. The crowd gathered at the foot of the 
stairs. Gerasim, with his arms akimbo, looked 
396 



MUMU 

down at all these poor creatures in German 
coats ; in his red peasant's shirt he looked like 
a giant before them. Gavrila took a step for- 
ward. 

* Mind, mate,' said he, ' don't be insolent.' 

And he began to explain to him by signs 
that the mistress insists on having his dog ; 
that he must hand it over at once, or it would 
be the worse for him. 

Gerasim looked at him, pointed to the dog, 
made a motion with his hand round his neck, 
as though he were pulling a noose tight, and 
glanced with a face of inquiry at the steward. 

'Yes, yes,' the latter assented, nodding; 'yes, 
just so.' 

Gerasim dropped his eyes, then all of a 
sudden roused himself and pointed to Mumu, 
who was all the while standing beside him, 
innocently wagging her tail and pricking up 
her ears inquisitively. Then he repeated the 
strangling action round his neck and signifi- 
cantly struck himself on the breast, as though 
announcing he would take upon himself the 
task of killing Mumu. 

' But you 41 deceive us,' Gavrila waved back 
in response. 

Gerasim looked at him, smiled scornfully, 
struck himself again on the breast, and 
slammed-to the door. 

397 



MUMU 

They all looked at one another in silence. 

' What does that mean ? ' Gavrila began. 
' He 's locked himself in.' 

' Let him be, Gavrila Andreitch,' Stepan 
advised; 'he'll do it if he's promised. He's 
like that, you know. ... If he makes a pro- 
mise, it's a certain thing. He's not like us 
others in that. The truth's the truth with 
him. Yes, indeed.' 

' Yes,' they all repeated, nodding their heads, 
' yes — that 's so — yes.' 

Uncle Tail opened his window, and he too 
said, * Yes.' 

'Well, may be, we shall see,' responded 
Gavrila ; ' any way, we won't take off the 
guard. Here you, Eroshka ! ' he added, ad- 
dressing a poor fellow in a yellow nankeen coat, 
who considered himself to be a gardener, ' what 
have you to do? Take a stick and sit here, 
and if anything happens, run to me at once ! ' 

Eroshka took a stick, and sat down on the 
bottom stair. The crowd dispersed, all except 
a few inquisitive small boys, while Gavrila went 
home and sent word through Liubov Liubi- 
movna to the mistress, that everything had been 
done, while he sent a postillion for a policeman 
in case of need. The old lady tied a knot in her 
handkerchief, sprinkled some eau-de-Cologne 
on it, sniffed at it, and rubbed her temples with 
39S 



MUMU 

it, drank some tea, and, being still under the 
influence of the cherrybay drops, fell asleep 
again. 

An hour after all this hubbub the garret door 
opened, and Gerasim showed himself. He 
had on his best coat ; he was leading Mumu 
by a string. Eroshka moved aside and let 
him pass. Gerasim went to the gates. All 
the small boys in the yard stared at him in 
silence. He did not even turn round ; he only 
put his cap on in the street. Gavrila sent the 
same Eroshka to follow him and keep watch on 
him as a spy. Eroshka, seeing from a distance 
that he had gone into a cookshop with his dog, 
waited for him to come out again. 

Gerasim was well known at the cookshop, 
and his signs were understood. He asked for 
cabbage soup with meat in it, and sat down 
with his arms on the table. Mumu stood 
beside his chair, looking calmly at him with 
her intelligent eyes. Her coat was glossy ; 
one could see she had just been combed 
down. They brought Gerasim the soup. He 
crumbled some bread into it, cut the meat 
up small, and put the plate on the ground. 
Mumu began eating in her usual refined 
way, her little muzzle daintily held so as 
scarcely to touch her food. Gerasim gazed 
a long while at her ; two big tears suddenly 
399 



MUMU 

rolled from his eyes ; one fell on the dog's 
brow, the other into the soup. He shaded 
his face with his hand. Mumu ate up half 
the plateful, and came away from it, licking 
her lips. Gerasim got up, paid for the soup, 
and went out, followed by the rather perplexed 
glances of the waiter. Eroshka, seeing Gerasim, 
hid round a corner, and letting him get in front, 
followed him again. 

Gerasim walked without haste, still holding 
Mumu by a string. When he got to the corner 
of the street, he stood still as though reflecting, 
and suddenly set off with rapid steps to the 
Crimean Ford. On the way he went into the 
yard of a house, where a lodge was being built, 
and carried away two bricks under his arm. 
At the Crimean Ford, he turned along the bank, 
went to a place where there were two little 
rowing-boats fastened to stakes (he had noticed 
them there before), and jumped into one of 
them with Mumu. A lame old man came out 
of a shed in the corner of a kitchen-garden 
and shouted after him; but Gerasim only 
nodded, and began rowing so vigorously, 
though against stream, that in an instant 
he had darted two hundred yards away. The 
old man stood for a while, scratched his back 
first with the left and then with the right hand, 
and went back hobbling to the shed. 
400 






MUMU 

Gerasim rowed on and on. Moscow was 
soon left behind. Meadows stretched each 
side of the bank, market gardens, fields, and 
copses ; peasants' huts began to make their 
appearance. There was the fragrance of the 
country. He threw down his oars, bent his 
head down to Mumu, who was sitting facing 
him on a dry cross seat — the bottom of the 
boat was full of water — and stayed motionless, 
his mighty hands clasped upon her back, while 
the boat was gradually carried back by the 
current towards the town. At last Gerasim 
drew himself up hurriedly, with a sort of sick 
anger in his face, he tied up the bricks he had 
taken with string, made a running noose, put 
it round Mumu's neck, lifted her up over the 
river, and for the last time looked at her. . . . 
she watched him confidingly and without any 
fear, faintly wagging her tail. He turned away, 
frowned, and wrung his hands. . . . Gerasim 
heard nothing, neither the quick shrill whine 
of Mumu as she fell, nor the heavy splash of 
the water ; for him the noisiest day was sound- 
less and silent as even the stillest night is not 
silent to us. When he opened his eyes again, 
little wavelets were hurrying over the river, 
chasing one another ; as before they broke 
against the boat's side, and only far away 
behind wide circles moved widening to the bank. 
2 c 401 



MUMU 

Directly Gerasim had vanishedfrom Eroshka's 
sight, the latter returned home and reported 
what he had seen. 

'Well, then,' observed Stepan, 'he'll drown 
her. Now we can feel easy about it. If he 
once promises a thing. . . .' 

No one saw Gerasim during the day. He 
did not have dinner at home. Evening came 
on ; they were all gathered together to supper, 
except him. 

' What a strange creature that Gerasim is ! ' 
piped a fat laundrymaid ; * fancy, upsetting 
himself like that over a dog. . . . Upon my 
word ! ' 

' But Gerasim has been here,' Stepan cried 
all at once, scraping up his porridge with a 
spoon. 

* How ? when ? ' 

'Why, a couple of hours ago. Yes, indeed ! 
I ran against him at the gate ; he was going 
out again from here; he was coming out of 
the yard. I tried to ask him about his dog, 
but he wasn't in the best of humours, I could 
see. Well, he gave me a shove ; I suppose he 
only meant to put me out of his way, as if 
he 'd say, " Let me go, do ! " but he fetched me 
such a crack on my neck, so seriously, that — 
oh ! oh ! ' And Stepan, who could not help 
laughing, shrugged up and rubbed the back of 
402 



MUMU 

his head. ' Yes,' he added ; ' he has got a fist ; 
it 's something like a fist, there 's no denying 
that ! ' 

They all laughed at Stepan, and after supper 
they separated to go to bed. 

Meanwhile, at that very time, a gigantic 
figure with a bag on his shoulders and a stick 
in his hand, was eagerly and persistently 

stepping out along the T highroad. It 

was Gerasim. He was hurrying on without 
looking round ; hurrying homewards, to his 
own village, to his own country. After drown- 
ing poor Mumu, he had run back to his garret, 
hurriedly packed a few things together in an 
old horsecloth, tied it up in a bundle, tossed 
it on his shoulder, and so was ready. He had 
noticed the road carefully when he was brought 
to Moscow ; the village his mistress had taken 
him from lay only about twenty miles off the 
highroad. He walked along it with a sort of 
invincible purpose, a desperate and at the 
same time joyous determination. He walked, 
his shoulders thrown back and his chest ex- 
panded ; his eyes were fixed greedily straight 
before him. He hastened as though his old 
mother were waiting for him at home, as 
though she were calling him to her after long 
wanderings in strange parts, among strangers. 
The summer night, that was just drawing in, 
403 



MUMU 

was still and warm ; on one side, where the 
sun had set, the horizon was still light and 
faintly flushed with the last glow of the 
vanished day ; on the other side a blue-grey 
twilight had already risen up. The night was 
coming up from that quarter. Quails were in 
hundreds around ; corncrakes were calling to 
one another in the thickets. . . . Gerasim 
could not hear them ; he could not hear the 
delicate night-whispering of the trees, by which 
his strong legs carried him, but he smelt the 
familiar scent of the ripening rye, which was 
wafted from the dark fields ; he felt the wind, 
flying to meet him — the wind from home — 
beat caressingly upon his face, and play with 
his hair and his beard. He saw before him 
the whitening road homewards, straight as an 
arrow. He saw in the sky stars innumerable, 
lighting up his way, and stepped out, strong 
and bold as a lion, so that when the rising sun 
shed its moist rosy light upon the still fresh 
and unwearied traveller, already thirty miles 
lay between him and Moscow. 

In a couple of days he was at home, in his 
little hut, to the great astonishment of the 
soldier's wife who had been put in there. 
After praying before the holy pictures, he set 
off at once to the village elder. The village 
elder was at first surprised ; but the haycutting 
404 



MUMU 

had just begun ; Gcrasim was a tirst-ratc 
mower, and they put a scythe into his hand 
on the spot, and he went to mow^ in his old 
way, mowing so that the peasants were fairly 
astounded as they watched his wide sweeping 
strokes and the heaps he raked together. . . . 

In Moscow the day after Gerasim's flight 
they missed him. They went to his garret, 
rummaged about in it, and spoke to Gavrila. 
He came, looked, shrugged his shoulders, and 
decided that the dumb man had either run 
away or had drowned himself with his stupid 
dog. They gave information to the police, and 
informed the lady. The old lady was furious, 
burst into tears, gave orders that he was to be 
found whatever happened, declared she had 
never ordered the dog to be destroyed, and, in 
fact, gave Gavrila such a rating that he could 
do nothing all day but shake his head and 
murmur, 'Well !' until Uncle Tail checked him 
at last, sympathetically echoing ' We-ell ! ' At 
last the news came from the country of 
Gerasim's being there. The old lady was 
somewhat pacified ; at first she issued a man- 
date for him to be brought back without delay 
to Moscow ; afterwards, however, she declared 
that such an ungrateful creature was absolutely 
of no use to her. Soon after this she died her- 
self; and her heirs had no thought to spare 
405 



MUMU 

for Gerasim; they let their mother's other 
servants redeem their freedom on payment of 
an annual rent. 

^ And Gerasim is living still, a lonely man in 
his lonely hut; he is strong and healthy as 
before, and does the work of four men as before, 
and as before is serious and steady. But his 
neighbours have observed that ever since his 
return from Moscow he has quite given up the 
society of women ; he will not even look at 
them, and does not keep even a single dog. ' It 's 
his good luck, though,' the peasants reason ; 
'that he can get on without female folk; and 
as for a dog— what need has he of a dog? 
you wouldn't get a thief to go into his yard 
for any money!' Such is the fame of the 
dumb man's Titanic strength. 



THE END 




Printed by T. and A. Constable, Printers to Her Majesty 
at the Edinburgh University Press 



■J^^y^-A^t,,^ 






GENERAL LIBRARY U.C. BERKELEY 




B0005013b^ 



i